A mind melting new video from Tokyo’s progressive audio visual collective
October 4, 2011
We meet the man behind the John Lawrence Sullivan label
- Text by Sophie Jackson
Born in Hiroshima in 1975, Arashi Yanagawa began his professional life working as a boxer for four years. Upon retiring, the brand John Lawrence Sullivan was born as a lifelong passion for fashion was realised. John Lawrence Sullivan had its first presentation in Tokyo in 2007 and there swiftly followed a flagship store in Nakameguro. The brand's sleek and supremely stylish menswear presentation earlier this year was hugely impressive and we look forward to a womenswear presentation in mid-October. Satellite Voices got the chance to put some questions to the brand's creator.
Satellite Voices: When was John Lawrence Sullivan started?
Arashi Yanagawa: It all began in 2003 with one jacket design.
SV: How did the name come about?
Arashi Yanagawa: I chose the name of a legendary boxing champion in order to never forget to challenge and to push boundaries. And of course because I used to be a boxer myself.
SV: Many people mention your boxing background, could you let us know a bit of your personal history and how you got in to designing?
Arashi Yanagawa: I was interested in fashion from an early age, but due to my father's influence I started boxing at the age of 11. My interest in fashion never really stopped, but since I started to be successful as a boxer it was only upon retirement that I was able to pursue my passion for clothes. When I turned 27, I used the fight money from my last boxing match and started my brand.
SV: The brand also shows in Paris, how does the French reaction differ to that in Japan?
Arashi Yanagawa: In Paris, I often hear the word 'beautiful'. In Japan, people seek wearable 'reality' clothes whereas in Paris I feel that people are looking for fantasy. Japanese buyers prefer simple clothes and on the other hand in Paris the response to the collection pieces is great.
SV: What are your future projects at the moment?
Arashi Yanagawa: It would be great if I could present my womenswear collection in NY in the near future.
SV: Arashi-san, where is your favourite place in Tokyo and why?
Arashi Yanagawa: My most favourite place is Nakameguro, I call it my second hometown. I believe that where I am now is thanks to all the great people I have met in this place. My office, shop, showroom, storage and home are all located in Nakameguro.
SV: You recently opened up your showroom in Nakameguro which looks amazing, could you let us know how that is going?
Arashi Yanagawa: Currently, the womenswear samples are managed by a press room but I am planning to do the management of all womens and menswear samples at the showroom. The showroom will also be the venue for my future presentations, shootings, installations, a place for various projects.
SV: Who would you most love to dress?
Arashi Yanagawa: I don't have anyone special in mind but I am happy if my clothes are worn by people with their own individual styles.
SV: Who is the ideal John Lawrence Sullivan customer, is there anyone particular in mind when you are designing?
Arashi Yanagawa: Every season I get inspired by different things and people. Since my inspiration often derives from everyday life, meeting people, movies, music etc. I don't have anyone in particular.
SV: Could you name a career highlight so far please.
Arashi Yanagawa: I feel that my highlight so far was my very first collection in Paris, but I'm sure there are much more highlights on the way.
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