Here’s a short and snappy interview we originally ‘conducted’ in the blisteringly hot summer of 2012. Whilst a lot of things have changed since then, Nanamica’s dedication to making fancy, useful jackets hasn’t, meaning pretty much everything main-man Eiichiro Homma says here still applies. Give this a read and then head over here to bless your retinas with some life-affirming new smocks…
As the head honcho of Nanamica, Eiichiro Homma certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to making some top-class jackets. Not afraid to use a bit of tasteful tech like Gore-Tex or Cordura, his jackets are perfect for a Manchester downpour. Although summer maybe isn’t the best time to carry out an interview with a famed jacket maestro, we thought we’d hunt him down to talk to him about his clothes, his love of sailing, and the differences between Tokyo and Japan.
First of all, how’d you start working with clothes?
At university I majored in PR and Communication, then I became interested in making a difference to the minds of human beings, and “Fashion” is one of the keys in switching on the minds of human beings.
When you were growing up, what brands did you like?
When I joined this industry, Japanese designer brands like Comme des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto were booming, so I was inspired to create my brand, although these two were very different from my nature. Another designer who inspired me was Olmes Caretti — since sports have been another key thing for me, his work putting his own style on sportswear made a big impression.
Before starting Nanamica, you worked at the distribution company Goldwin, what did you do there?
My first role was marketing but after only eight months of experience I moved to a product development team for their outdoor sports division which carried The North Face, Helly Hansen and Filson. That’s where I started off my career as a designer. With my 18 years’ experience at the outdoor sports division I also took care of distributing Henri Lloyd and Murphy & Nye.
How did working at Goldwin influence you when you started Nanamica?
Since I love sports, working at Goldwin was a good stage for fusing my hobby with business. Throughout my experience at Goldwin, I saw sports brands look good, but sometimes, not too good. Sportswear must be designed with physical and logical thinking, but I thought we could add emotional thinking too without compromises.
Nanamica seems to be influenced heavily by American classics, like the four pocket parka, or the varsity jacket for instance. Coming from Japan, what is it about these designs that interest you?
For us sports, military, work and vintage are four big keys of inspiration. And as ‘sports’ is a core theme for us and we love outdoor sports, there’s no doubt American classics are one of our favourite themes.
Outside of Nanamica, what do you get up to in your spare time?
Sailing is one of my hobbies, and I have always been very comfortable when I am at the sea-side. So that’s where Nanamica, which means “Houses of seven seas,” gets its marine or beach flavour.
What clothes companies around at the moment do you like? And what do you wear yourself?
I like Tim Hamilton and Junya Watanabe but I mostly wear what I produce. One of the principles for Nanamica is that we should produce what we would like to wear, and should not produce what we would not wear, even if we could expect good sales.
I think I’ve pretty much ran out of questions now. Seeing as you’re based in Tokyo, what would you recommend doing in the city?
Tokyo is one of the most convenient cities in the world; everything is available with high quality service. But please note — Tokyo is Tokyo, out of Tokyo might be Japan. For food I would recommend Esaki, Yoneka for a sophisticated meal, Yamafuji for something casual, Yajima for sushi, Nori for seafood, Sanda to meet people and These if you’re looking for a bar.