It is an honor to introduce this interview guest. We interviewed Hiroshi Nozawa, who has been in the fashion industry for over 30 years. He has been a designer for major outdoor brands and has learned a lot for his personal development. He says that he doesn't do classic fashion. Hiroshi creates clothes that are meant to be one with the wearer. His definition of clothing is not necessarily about how good it looks, but that it is in harmony with the wearer. Many people forget that clothes are actually meant to protect us. Hiroshi covers both. His products look good, yet they have a function to protect us.
Hiroshi fuses classic menswear with functional clothing and has created something completely new that only he would have been able to do.
"Natural environment give me many ideas. Design blended with the beautiful scenery... Clothes as excellent `tool` with which people can spend comfortable time under the severe situation... There are a lot of things learning from nature."
norbit's own design philosophy: a conversation with Hiroshi Nozawa
Hey Hirsohi! I'm really glad that you're here for the interview. Can you introduce yourself to the readers please and tell them about your work.
I would like to say hello to the readers firstly. I am Hiroshi Nozawa, designer of norbit.
Thank you for giving me this kind of opportunity. I would appreciate more people will be interested in my design work.
More than 30 years ago I started to remake used clothes. This is the beginning of my design work. From then on creative activities became my life work.
Nowadays what I create is not only the so-called `fashion brand`, but also useful in field scene with functionality. I can say norbit is a brand of my compilation.
Could you tell us something about your time as a designer? You have been a designer for, New Balance, Fjallraven, Hummel, Columbia Black Label, and Snow Peak (Japan only). What did you learn during that time?
As you mentioned, I was involved in many outdoor brand as a designer. It was demanded endurability under the severe situation as well as designability. I learned the knowledge of functional materials and processing technique at that time.
How important is time to you? You founded norbit in February 1999, but you took a long time with your first collection. This should be the A/W 2018 collection, if I'm not mistaken. What was going through your mind?
Suspension of norbit was very hard decision. It is a fact that I spent my energy for restart.
However, during that time I brushed up my skills; technique of functional materials, knowledge of work-wear, pulled-up sensibility. Current art work for norbit is my compilation based on these experiences. I finally feel that it is a necessary period for me at this distance of time.
How did you come up with the idea of combining classic menswear with function wear influences?
Actually, I got an idea from automobiles.
I am a car enthusiast and I often imagine ideal cars. The car I want the most is classical four-wheel-drive car with forefront ability. But it is difficult for me to find such car and I don’t have any skills to make it.
I suddenly took it into my head to satisfy my wants by my specialty, design of clothing. I created hybrid clothes which combined classic design with modern functionality.
You spend a lot of time in nature. What value does nature have for you? And how do you integrate this spirit into your clothes?
When I spend time in nature, I can get back true to myself. I feel very comfortable and it is my important time for chill-out.
Natural environment give me many ideas. Design blended with the beautiful scenery... Clothes as excellent `tool` with which people can spend comfortable time under the severe situation... There are a lot of things learning from nature.
What does a working day look like for you?
Working day is my `diligence day` to have happily holidays.
Although, norbit is a clothes to spend `relaxing holidays`, I think it is not bad to spend work day wearing it.
Which pieces do you like to create the most? Or do you approach each design objectively?
Until now it can be said that all pieces are my favourites.
Obviously I approach each pieces objectively, and I try to update in every season to improve.
It may need at least over 10 years to reach perfection. If you ask me the same question at that time, I might answer this question clearly.
How much does the Covid pandemic affect you? Does it inhibit your creativity a lot or has nothing changed for you?
Under the COVID pandemic the most difficult thing is to search materials overseas. And also I couldn’t do minute instructions to factories directly. I have been concerned about that.
Sometimes I felt inconvenience, but our international partners did a really good job. In this occasion I could take a measure of the special quality of each of them.
During your time as a designer for various brands, what did you take for your personal development?
It may be a commonplace, I leaned history of each brand and did research of their targets.
Do you have any final words you would like to give to the youth?
Because of the spread of the internet youngsters have more knowledge of fashion compared with my youthful days. I cannot give them any comments so much as I should learn from them. If I give them only one words, I would like to say please treasure your feelings not to depend on information or knowledge.
Thanks a lot for your time!
Words by Moubarak Assima