A former Comme des Garçons planner and Dazed Japan editor team up for fashion's artsy answer to Kickstarter
Ever wanted to see a Rolls Royce designed by Hedi Slimane? Or republish Margiela's A Magazine? NOAVENUE wants to help you realise all your wildest, most out-there creative fantasies. The online platform, set up by Yusuke Koishi and former Dazed Japan editor Junsuke Yamasaki, is a kind of dreams-come-true crowdsourcing site. Think Kickstarter or Indiegogo for artists and designers.
This is how it works: you sign up to NOAVENUE and put forward your idea. Once your idea has enough "pushes" from other users (the amount required depends on the type of project), NOAVENUE makes contact with brands, creators and manufacturers to determine exactly how feasible your idea is.
Koishi and Yamasaki want NOAVENUE to act as a springboard for seemingly impossible ideas to be made into a reality. They describe the platform as a "social experiment in the Wild Wild West style" – most projects might sink without a trace, but the ones that do will thrive and have real impact. We caught up with Koishi to talk to him about NOAVENUE and how it got started.
Why did you start NOAVENUE?
Yusuke Koishi: I have been inspired by millions of things but primarily I wanted to create a place where creative ideas can be cultivated. A historical place that I had in mind is the Café de Flore during the 1940s in Paris, where Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus held many influential and creative discussions. Another place is Andy Warhol’s Factory; lastly I was inspired by Golden Gai in Shinjuku, Tokyo where Yukio Mishima and many other influential Japanese creators and editors dwelled during the 1970s.
Secondly, fashion is getting to become dependent on valuations and investment exit strategies. It has finally started to embrace the ideas of Silicon Valley dotcom style, establishing capital to invest in retail/fashion/designer start-ups. While there are many online platforms which are functionally useful, none of them specifically focus on fashion, art, and satirical creations. We wanted to make something different from the current standard.
What's been the most popular project so far?
“For me, internet technology is just another tool to express the ideas that we want, just like a sewing machine in the early 20th century that used to be a brand new tool to create clothes” – Yusuku Koishi
Is the intersection of fashion and technology what excites you most about NOAVENUE?
Yusuke Koishi: I worked for Comme des Garçons as a planner for several years, however before that path, I came from a science and engineering background at the University of Tokyo. My thesis was about the application of chaos theory. Fashion is very interesting because while it is visual, it's also emotional. It stimulates our desires, affects our aesthetics, and indirectly changes our life and dynamics. Fashion has the ability to create our future, and simultaneously redefine our past, and change our fate. In Japanese we have the term "arisama", which means the style or way in which we feel and behave. I feel fashion closely embodies this concept. Fashion is not just clothes but also the modality of our lives. I suppose my background could be fashion in all of these senses and intersections and feelings. It might be a chaotic explanation though!
For me, internet technology is just another tool to express the ideas that we want, just like a sewing machine in the early 20th century that used to be a brand new tool to create clothes and change the world of prêt-à-porter. Fashion is not constrained by the tools used to create itself and from this perspective NOAVENUE wants to serve as a new experimental tool for fashion.
Would you describe NOAVENUE as a place for dreams and concepts, or are you determined to see some of these projects come to life?
Yusuku Koishi: The artists and creators who would have traditionally shunned crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing platforms have taken a keen interest in our platform. Specifically one designer had started to gather funding for the 10th edition of his artworks and another artist foundation is now preparing a new project to gather funding. Oscar Wilde once said, "Man can believe the impossible but man can never believe the improbable". We firmly believe NOAVENUE is the venue where your improbable ideas can become possible.