Postalco Shibuya Shop, 2014

We were happy to show a selection of their products as well as images from the making process of Tuki pants.

9 Questions
Mike: I heard that people used to put their clothes carefully under their mattresses to 'iron' them while they slept. Do you have any advice about good ways to store pants? How do you store your own pants?
Harada: That's called “ne-oshi” in Japanese (literally 'sleep-iron'). Isn’t that very old-fashioned? I wonder if anyone still does that? I'd like to know a good way to store many pants. It’s embarrassing but I leave them wherever I take them off, just like a snake shedding its skin. Better not follow my example.

M: Since you focus on pants, I would like to hear more about your thoughts about human legs. Are there any aspects of human legs that interest you?
H: More than legs' appearance I’m interested in their kinetics. Pants are essentially two fabric cylinders, so when a person walks the fabric movement is very dynamic. That’s why the way the fabric is woven, dyed and finished is an essential part of the design. Skirts are different than pants. A skirt restricts the body's movements physically and psychologically as well. At the moment that really fascinates me.

M: Our legs move constantly during the day and human legs are such complicated shapes; making pants to fit those legs seems like a very difficult task. What do you keep in mind when you construct and design a pair of pants?
H: In a circus tent there is a mixture of hanging fabric and also structure. It's not so much about pants' fit but about having part of the fabric hang free and part stay close to the body. The way the silhouette and fabric gives people ideas for wearing the clothing is important. Tuki does not give any styling suggestions so we hope people get inspired by the clothing itself. I even think about how the sound of the fabric might influence people's choices. During the process of designing I think about all these aspects but I have to keep one simple goal. How I find the image I am going for in a pair of pants is hard to express in words- designs come to me in different ways. Sometimes an idea might pop into my mind, or it might surprise me, or sometimes form very slowly.

M: You said that you are interested in things being made well, but not too 'hand-made'. Can you tell me a little more about this?
H: For instance, there might be an udon restaurant that makes their noodles in the front window of the store, on display for customers. But it doesn't necessarily mean their udon is going to be delicious. The 'hand-made' look can be very dangerous. Sometimes it seems like people are charmed by things that look handmade. I'm afraid that some companies take advantage of this by having a surface look of being 'handmade' but with no spirit behind it.

M: What are the important elements of 'Made in Japan' to you?
H: This is very simple. I grew up in Japan and I learned to make things in an environment where it's normal for each person to be attentive to daily details. I don't have particular desires for unattainable things, I just try to focus on making everyday things well. If I was given the choice to do anything I wanted, anywhere in the world, that would be the most difficult! Of course I'm proud of Japanese craft and history but for me being in Japan and making in Japan is just natural.

M: Can you tell me a little about the fabrics you make with pants in mind? What makes a good fabric for pants?
H: Pants get a lot more abuse than other kinds of clothing so they wear out more quickly too. You have to think about strength and function. However pants that are durable often lack interest or beauty. Pants that have an interesting and beautiful shape usually don't hold up to use. So when I think about the ideal fabric for pants I have to consider these opposing elements. Just making pants that are strong in an average way and have an average design is just going to result in pants that are mediocre. Often the fabrics we use are intentionally over structured. Sometimes a fabric that is very particular leads us to new shape ideas. Fabric inspired by an idea is what we look for. So you'll find some unusually dense fabrics used in Tuki pants!

M: It must be hard to find good fabrics?
H: Most of Tuki’s fabrics are plain-looking but they are originals made for us. People generally associate textile design with graphic elements, but for us designing the structure of the plain fabrics is essential.

M: What is your favorite part of visiting a factory making clothing?
H: It is true that visiting the factories is interesting, but pretty stressful too. The clothing we ask them to make has many difficult parts so there are often problems to solve. Our factories don't specialize in tailor-made clothing, more in ready-to-wear. Each workshop focuses on a different phase; sewing or attaching hardware, etc. It is a very human process so Sayoko is on the phone with them daily. I can finally only see a piece of clothing as good in the final phase when they attach the buttons. Then I can relax!

M: All the Tuki clothes are unisex. Can you tell me a little bit about why this is important to you?
H: There are pieces of clothing that can be worn by both men and women. Sometimes these unisex items actually emphasize masculinity when a man wears them, and femininity when a woman wears them. I always liked this kind of paradox and enjoy thinking about why the same piece of clothing can be so different on two people. I want to make a women's line but I am not quite ready at the moment.


Mike: 昔の人は服をふとんの下に敷いて、しわを伸ばしていたって聞いた事があるけど、原田さんはパンツのしまい方で良いアドバイスとかある? いつもはどんな風にしまってるの?
Harada: それは「寝押し」といって、ずいぶん昔の習慣じゃない? 今でもやっている人がいるのかな。沢山のパンツを上手く収納する方法は、僕が教えて欲しいくらい。恥ずかしい話だけど、僕は脱いだら脱ぎっぱなしでぐちゃぐちゃで、まるで蟬の脱け殻(笑)。絶対に参考にしない方が良いよ。

M: パンツ一筋にこだわって作ってきているから、原田さんの人間の脚についての考えを聞いてみたいな。人間の脚のどんなところに興味を惹かれる?
H: 脚の形や様子というよりは、もっと動的な「歩く」という事かな。歩幅とか。特に二本の筒でパンツは出来ているので、素材をパワフルに動かすよね? 素材の織り方や染め方、仕上げ方がデザインの主役として本領を発揮する瞬間だと思ってる。スカートなんて物理的にも心理的にも人間の歩行や動きに制限を与えるから、実は今最も興味があるんだ。

M: 僕たちの脚って一日ですごく動いているよね。しかも実はすごく複雑な形をしている。そんな脚に丁度良いパンツをつくるのって、とても難しい気がするけど、デザインする時とか作るときはどんな事を考えているの?
H: 脚そのものの形が主題にならないようにしてる。布をどのように体にくっつけるかという事よりも、どのように体から離すか。パンツを体のどの辺りで留めるか(どの辺りからぶら下げるか)。サーカスのテントのような物と言えばわかるかな? そして大事な事は、僕たちの布を複雑に動かしながら歩いているその様子やシルエット、もっと言えば布の音なんかが、コーディネートの想像力を刺激するのかどうか。TUKI はコーディネートそのものは提示しないからね。こんな感じで複雑な事も考えるけど、実はとても単純なゴールに向かわないといけないとも思うよ。それは「ハッとする」とか「ドキッとする」とか「ジワジワくる」のような本能的で説明のつかない感情。

M: 上質だけど手作りっぽすぎないようにしていると言っていたよね。その事についてもう少し聞かせてくれる?
H: 例えば、目の前で麺を打つうどん屋だからといって、必ず美味しいという訳じゃないよね。それと同じように、作る工程や考え方が見えているからって質が良い服とは限らない。個人的に、「ハンドメイド」という事に対して、世間が余りにも盲目的だと感じる事がある。それはすごく危険な事で、思想の無いビジネスの餌食になりやすいと思うんだ。POSTALCOを初めて見たのは10年くらい前だけど、同じような考え方を見た気がしてうれしかった。

M: 原田さんにとって『メイド・イン・ジャパン』である大切な事ってなに?
H: これについてはとてもシンプル。身近な環境で物を作る事をちゃんと受け入れて、ないものねだりをせずに、出来る事をやって。どこででも、なんでも好きにやってみろと言われたとしたら、僕は本当に困ってしまうと思う。もちろん自分の国への愛情や誇りもあるけれど、メイド・イン・ジャパンって、今のところ僕にとっては宿命でしかないよ。

M: パンツに使う生地について聞いてみたかったんだけど、パンツにとって良い生地ってどういうもの?
H: パンツって他の衣類よりもずっと過酷な環境だから、消耗が激しい。そういう耐久性とか機能性については当然考えないわけにはいかないけど、それって面白さや上品さと矛盾する事も多い。だからパンツ用の生地を考えるときには色んな要素のバランスについてよく考えるよ。バランスと言ってもいいとこ取りの中間ばかりを考えなくて、結構アンバランスにする事もある。バランス配分の多様性って、新しい形のヒントになる事が多い。インスピレーションを含んだ生地が僕らにとっては最良の生地。だから結構乱暴な生地も多いですよTUKIって(笑)。

M: 生地を探すのって大変?
H: TUKIは無地が多いんだけど、ほとんどオリジナルで作ってる。テキスタイルデザインってもっとグラフィカルなイメージかも知れないけれど、無地をデザインすることは僕らには大切なことなので。

M: 工場にもよく行くと思うんだけど、工場に行っておもしろいと思っている事はどんな事?
H: 確かにおもしろい事もあるけれども、緊張する事の方が圧倒的に多いと思う。テーラーメイドじゃなくてレディメイドの量産工場だからね。工程別にたくさんの工場があるし、それぞれに難しいリクエストも多いからトラブルも起きやすいんだ。もちろん機械相手の仕事じゃないから佐世子はほとんど毎日電話してる(笑)。最後の工程のあたり、ちょうどボタンを付けたりする工場で、自分たちの製品がきれいに見える事があって、そういう時は本当に安心するよ。

M: TUKIの製品ってどれもユニセックスだけど、これを大事にしてる理由は何かある?
H: 同じ洋服なのに、着用すると男女の性差がすごく際立つ洋服がある。男女にはやっぱり共有不可能なそれぞれの美しさがある事を、逆に知る事ができる洋服。そういうパラドックスが昔から好きで、それが何故か? と考える事が面白いと思ってる。今のところすべてユニセックスだけど、本当は女性向けにも挑戦したい。今は下手なので少しずつやれたら良いなと思ってる。