It’s a crisp but grey afternoon in Seoul as we wend our way through the busy streets en route to the venue of sneaker brand Onitsuka Tiger’s party. The reason? The Japanese sneaker label is celebrating the launch of its Onitsuka Tiger x Andrea Pompilio Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, along with their new releases for Autumn/Winter 2017, and we’re slated to talk to the designer about the new collection. And boy, did he talk — in the space of our interview we touched on topics such as his approach to social media (hint: he’s just getting used to it) and the unexpected inspiration behind his latest collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger. Read on to find out what the designer revealed in his interview with BAZAAR!
Let’s start off at the beginning: With the starting point of this collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger. What was your inspiration for this season?
When I was designing this collection, I kept in mind a preppy kind of look. But personally, at this moment in fashion, there really is not only one source of inspiration anymore — it’s about really dressing in combinations. What is interesting about this collection is that we had a special project with Onitsuka Tiger in the past called ‘In the Past It Was Not Cold’ and out of that came the inspiration for all these kind of sweaters with the stripe in the collection. So all these parts are coming from the ’60s and the ’70s, from the archives.
Were there any specific references? I noticed that you referenced a lot of mountaineering gear and the materials.
Yeah, because it’s a winter collection! But we always try to bring something modern with our approach. For example the chunky shoes come from the archives but I re-designed them completely with the little studs and completely reworked the idea of a mountaineering shoe.
What is your take on the rise of streetwear right now?
I think I was one of the first, probably, to recognise the rise of streetwear, therefore we started collaborating with Onitsuka Tiger. But now it’s becoming really common. The thing about streetwear right now is that it’s very important in multiple industries, not only fashion, but in movies, in art, in everything. Everything starts from the street now, probably because we want something much more real than the past. It’s so much more interesting.
Graphic colors and prints play a very big role in your collections, but this season you pared back a lot and only used a few colors. Is there any specific reason why?
I think with fall/winter, it’s just the emotion that I feel with the season. But in general, I love colors. In fact, you can see there is not so much black. I love to play with colours, and especially with very strange colour combinations such as military green with burgundy, so that was a big influence.
Let’s talk about social media. How do you approach it? Is it something that you turn to for inspiration?
To tell you the truth, I’m quite old-fashioned in this aspect. I didn’t grow up with social media, but in the last three years, I find myself trying to understand what’s going on with this new kind of machine everybody have in hands. It’s both a positive and a negative — I think we really have to take care in the way we use social media because it’s really disrupting us so much from the real life. So I use it because I have to use it for my work, but generally I’m not that kind of person who uses social media to publish what I’m eating or what I’m doing. I like keeping my life quite personal, thank you very much! [laughs]
You come from a menswear background, but Onitsuka Tiger have to appeal to both sexes. What is it in your new collection that you think would appeal to women?
Personally, I always find it sexy when a women borrows clothes from men. Right now there is not anymore clear division between menswear and womenswear, in the sense that women can easily open their boyfriend’s wardrobe and pick out clothes without any problem. It’s a little bit more difficult for a man to open a wardrobe of a woman to find anything. So feel free to mix and match from the new collection, but I think that one of the key items that anyone — men and women — should get is definitely the chunky shoes for the new season.
The Onitsuka Tiger x Andrea Pompilio Autumn/Winter 2017 collection will be available later this year.