(Apart from a mysterious missing SS01 collection)
There are few fashion designers that evoke the level of fandom that Raf Simons does. Though there’s plenty of disciples that worship at the altar of Rick Owens, Maison Margiela, Rei Kawakubo et al, for the biggest fans of Simons, the devotion to unpicking and analysing his myriad references runs even deeper. They are, for the most part – and in the most positive sense of the word – total nerds for the Belgian iconoclast.
News, then, that a book documenting (almost) every item Simons created between the years of 1996 – 2006 has just been released is likely to be met with more than a little excitement. 1996-2001 / 2001-2006 is the first book to be released by printings.jp, featuring internationally-sourced garments as presented by the designer throughout a decade of his career. That it’s published by an obscure Japanese publishing house? Extra points for Raf fans.
printings.jp itself is a newly-founded publisher specialising in rare fashion tomes, photo books, and art catalogues, that will also produce its own archive chronicles, as edited by its in-house team. The brainchild of Hideo Hashiura, who opened Tokyo’s LAILA vintage store over 15 years ago, the project will allow him to extend his edit of rare and archival clothing from the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, Maison Margiela, and Issey Miyake, into a series of hard-to-find books and, importantly, his own limited edition publications. “Through printing our own material, we want to show the core essence of fashion, and tell it to the future,” he tells us, “I feel like something is missing in fashion these days. I’m not saying this to praise the past and criticise the present, but by understanding the past I think we could expand on the future.”
As 1996-2001 / 2001-2006 is released, and ahead of Raf Simons’ AW18 menswear show, which takes place in New York tonight, we caught up with Hashiura to find out more about the concept behind printings.jp, how he sourced the extensive number of garments that feature in the book, and just why 2001 is split into two halves.
What made you open printings.jp?
Hideo Hashiura: I opened LAILA VINTAGE in Tokyo 15 years ago, which carries ‘maison brand’ vintage pieces, with the intention of buying pieces with deep history that I’d edit with my own perspective, to continue with the idea of a new approach to fashion. It wasn’t about looking back, but looking forward. Then in 2013, I opened LAILA TOKIO, which focuses specifically on designer garments from the 90s. We collected a lot of items from Raf Simons, so I started thinking about publishing a kind of reference book that connects with the future. printings.jp was founded by myself and my partner, who I met last year by chance. We found we were both collecting clothes that shared similar emotions, and so decided start a publishing house that conveys history through both clothing and printed materials.
“Through printing materials, we want to show the core essence of fashion, and tell it to the future, to the next generation” – Hideo Hashiura
What was concept behind the publishing house?
Hideo Hashiura: Through printing materials, we want to show the core essence of fashion, and tell it to the future, to the next generation. Since opening LAILA, I realised that many people are looking at current fashion in the same way that I am, that it’s not moving forward as it once did. We launched printings.jp to show what we think and feel about fashion through books.
Tell me a bit about the books you’ve selected, how do you choose what to sell?
Hideo Hashiura: We have two sections – “archive book” and “book archive”. “Archive book” is where we’ll release our self-published books that feature archive fashion pieces, like the very first book 1996-2001 / 2001-2006. “Book archive" is where we set themes like fashion, art and photography, and sell those printed materials. At the moment, we have issues of Purple from the early 00s, and books on Margiela and Comme des Garçons in that section.
How does your work at LAILA link in with your work at printings.jp, do they go hand-in-hand?
Hideo Hashiura: Yes! Since we have so many vintage items, we often search through books to find the pieces we own, and I’m always excited to find them in those books. One of the best things for me is to have the garment in my hand as I’m matching it with the same piece in the book. I like to try to feel how the designer created that piece, how he felt, what he was thinking.
Why did you decide to start with Raf Simons?
Hideo Hashiura: Raf Simons has had a profound influence upon contemporary fashion, and both myself and my partner have long been fascinated by his work, so we decided he would be first. He’s a truly important designer, who’s conveying genuine and original messages. We believe that’s very important.
How did you source all the pieces you photographed for the book?
Hideo Hashiura: The clothes in the publication this time mainly belonged to me and my partner. We also received help from several others, and spent several months photographing 1,300 items. There are a few pieces that we couldn’t find, but it has a very solid amount of pieces.
What were the pieces you couldn’t find?
Hideo Hashiura: No one could find Raf’s SS01 collection, which is the reason for the break in the volume.
What are your favourite pieces from the book?
Hideo Hashiura: I like the first half, from 1996-2001. I flicked through about 20 pages and realised they documented pieces that were all black. There is no other colour, but the cuttings add unique texture and look very beautiful.
“No one could find Raf’s SS01 collection, which is the reason for the break in the volume” – Hideo Hashiura
Will there be a second volume, picking up where 2006 left off?
Hideo Hashiura: No, there is no plan for that at the moment, but we are currently preparing the next project, which we’ll announce very soon.
Is there a rare book that you would love to stock, or you wish you’d written?
Hideo Hashiura: No, not in particular. But I would like to edit and curate books from the bookshelves of my favourite designers in the near future. Maybe Raf’s, who knows?