The Japanese are masters of taking elements of vintage fashion and reinventing them into something that’s greater than the sum of their parts. Chief among this movement is Hideaki Shikama, a Tokyo-based designer who founded Children Of The Disordance in 2011 and has been mixing and remixing found textiles into characterful and supremely wearable menswear since.Taking inspiration from his personal experiences and diverse cultures, Shikama has made use of fair-trade materials from EZLN in Mexico and Hirbawi Textile Factory in Palestine for his collections, which have showed at New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, and have been recognised with awards such as the 2017 Tokyo Fashion Award.
Shikama cites his diverse range of musical tastes as a major inspiration for his work, going so far as to cite music — along with skating and football — as the tenets which make up the core DNA of Children Of The Discordance. Elements of his love for music are evident in his designs, such as bandana prints that signify a deference towards hip-hop and hardcore.
Ahead of his showcase at the 10 Asian Designers To Watch exhibition taking place this month in Shanghai, read on to find out more about Shikama’s thoughts on why music is his true muse, the relationship between vintage fabrics and sustainability, and which song he identifies with the most.
Q. Why fashion? What made you want to be a designer?
My excitement and passion [for fashion] emerged when I first encountered STUSSY when I was 11 years old — it set me on a path towards fashion and to becoming a designer. I still have the same feelings now, and have not yet found another medium to express myself. Fashion is my life.
Q. If your teenage self could see you now as a fashion designer, what would he think?
I knew it!
Q. In fashion, a muse not only serves as an inspiration for designers, but also urges them to continue creating. Who is your muse, and how does he/she continues to drive your ambition?
All the musicians in my playlist are my muses; all of them are the best source of my inspiration.
Q. Your label champions sustainability. How do you think the fashion industry can better embrace the issue?
This may not be possible for all designers, and I totally understand the meaning and mindset in regards to sustainability. Our main materials just happened to be vintage fabrics and we didnt intend on sustainability at all.
Q. Your latest collection is an eclectic mix of multicultural influences. Tell us the story behind it.
For the past 30 years, I have been listening a lot of Japanese pop music, American and Japanese hip-hop, R&B, UK hardcore, black metal, electronica and house music, among others. Music is one part of my life, and when I design and create, music naturally becomes incorporated in the clothing.
Q. Name a song that suits your aesthetic and style. Explain your choice.
‘Devastated’ by Joey Bada$$. His way of thinking is very similar to mine which I find amazing—his lyrics about drugs and women aside…
Q. From the punk-inspired revolution of Vivienne Westwood to the Indie-rock androgyny of Hedi Slimane, the world of fashion is filled with music references. Why do you think that is?
I think this is because the [world of fashion] truly loves music, simple as that. You feel this from the creations of those designers.
Q. What is your all-time favourite track that inspires you?
Des'ree’s ‘Trip On Love’.
Q. Total silence when you design, yes or no? Why?
I do both silence and sound. It’s difficult to explain the reason why, but depending on the mood and the type of work the music is sometimes on, and other times it’s silent.
Q. If your designs could sing, speak, call out to you or make any sort of sound, what would you be hearing and why?
Discordance. Because the clothes I create are a discordance and I believe the discord is wonderful.
Held in collaboration between KEF and Lane Crawford, the 10 Asian Designers To Watch exhibition will be held in Shanghai from March 31 to April 11 in an effort to spotlight the most promising young talents in fashion across Asia. Highlighting the role of sound and music both to inspire and bolster the power of fashion, the KEF Experience Zone will allow attendees to engage with the latest cutting-edge audio technology to transport the mind within the headspace of the designers. Find out more online here.
Cover Image: Hideaki Shikama / COTD