Whether ramen or clothes, you take a pride in producing “things”.
This is the message built in the words of “CRAFT WITH PRIDE”.
NEIGHBORHOOD is one of the brands that have been leading Japan’s fashion culture since 90’s when its
business was launched at Harajuku, Tokyo. Centering on the countercultures deriving from motorcycles that
Designer Mr. Shinsuke Takizawa is falling love with, this brand has been, through its own interpretation,
pushing up the elements such as military, outdoor and trad to the stage of basic clothes productions and
lifestyle proposals. Without losing its momentum, NEIGHBORHOOD has been successfully recognized as one of
the representative domestic brands. NEIGHBORHOOD is going to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year –
2019. With such landmark around the corner, Mr. Takizawa talks about the collaborative work with Ippudo.
INTERVIEW & WORDS by SHOTA KATO
by SINYA KEITA
An Ippudo’s shop overseas took an approach not in line with the concept of ordinary
ramen shops in Japan
―Let me ask you about your dietary life before talking about the uniform. Mr.
Takizawa, would you regularly eat ramen?
I love it. Actually, my family runs a noodle company, so I have been growing up always eating
noodles since my childhood. I still eat ramen whenever I have a chance. I like Tonkotsu (pork bone broth)
ramen best. I would prefer the flavors asserting themselves. Those things kind of make me feel that there
might be a mysterious connection between ppudo and myself.
Then, have you ever visited one of Ippudo ramen shops?
Sure. I have made several visits to their Ebisu shop along Meiji Street and, outside Japan,
their shop in Singapore. Ippudo shop in Singapore has an atmosphere a little bit different from that of
ordinary ramen shops in Japan, doesn’t it? Ippudo ramen shops, including those in Japan, have been taking
an approach not in line with the concept of so-called “Ramen Shops (ramenya-san)”. What I have learned
through this uniform project is that Japanese-style ramen is positioned as more like a new Japanese dish
overseas while being regarded as more like soul food in Japan.
I genuinely felt happy when I heard this project had started with an enthusiastic
proposal made by an Ippudo’s staff member.
How did you feel honestly when receiving from Ippudo a request to produce its uniform?
I had absolutely known that other brands had been producing their uniforms for overseas shops,
but I honestly never expected it’s happening to me until actually receiving their offer. However, I
genuinely felt happy when I heard Ippudo’s local officer in charge was a big fan of NEIGHBORHOOD and such
proposal leaded to a project like this. They trust NEIGHBORHOOD. Well, if that is the case, we should
their uniform simply based on the idea that a uniform is nothing but a type of workwear. I believe
workwear is not a
style of fashion chasing around fads but one being created out of necessity, so, in addition to such
belief of mine, I
have been esigning uniform plans while referring to the image photographs of their shop in Australia. I
wondering, like, an urbanized uniform would be better for an Ippudo shop overseas as it has an urban
atmosphere more than
one in Japan.
Both Mr. Daiki Suzuki
having produced a uniform for their New York shop and Mr. Takayuki
Fujii having done it for their Santa Monica shop told that workwear had been born just out
Workwear and military wear that are my favorite styles have been now recreated as fashion
styles. Originally, workwear
and military wear have gone through the history of being added by details and updated as necessary, and I
find it very
attractive. As fashion always stays next to trend, it can be expressed in various ways accordingly. I
like such aspect
of fashion, but, actually, what attracts me more is style instead of fashion. I prefer the lifestyle of
and what are expressing the way he or she lives. In short, clothes are your self-expression, identity and
The words of “CRAFT WITH PRIDE” can be true with all of those creating things.
The uniform you have produced this time has the message of “CRAFT WITH PRIDE” on it. Would
you please share with us
your thoughts hidden in this message?
We have been using this slogan since the launch of our brand in 1994. Let’s take a pride in
what we create anytime and
at any given moment. Let’s pay our best attention to all the elements relating to the production of
clothes. I want to
emphasize such attitudes through this message. I am convinced that these words are true with all of those
In terms of its coloring, any color but black is used in your uniform. Is black is the base
color in your creative
activities, isn’t it?
I am not such a stoic person as using only black color in creating things. I myself have found
after all that the color
I like best and am most comfortable with is black. It is the color changing its face depending on the
different materials. Say, clothes, the color of black best represents the differences in the expressions
fabrics such as cotton, wool and nylon. Some black colors make us feel very heavy, while some of them
appear to be very
light. This might be the No.1 reason I find black color very interesting. Black can be sometimes the
color playing a
supporting role, or best blending into the space, and sometimes the present color full of confidence. I
working for Ippudo would also relate themselves to such idea of, like, changing their presence according
situation. I would be happy if they get a feel of such universal nature of black.
One of the roles of a team uniform is to have people be proud of belonging to it.
You have designed the uniform in a way to simply position on it those typographies including
“CRAFT WITH PRIDE”,
“IPPUDO” and “NEIGHBORHOOD”. Please let us know how did you settle down in such design.
One of my favorite generations and styles of workwear is the uniform after 1920’s that used be
worn by those working at
the car factories of Ford, an automobile manufacturer. I suppose it should be a demonstration of their
being proud of
their company and belonging to it. Imagining such stuff, I used these typographies in a simple manner. By
denim had not been appearing yet in 1920’s and 30’s, so I like that style for its characteristics in this
Now, the functional aspects of your uniform. What kinds of efforts have you made to its
details as the uniform
specialized for a ramen shop?
I think what would first catch your eye is the details of its pocket. We don’t usually cook
ramen but do physical work
a lot like customizing our motorcycle. As always having been researching practical details as a real
such stuff, we have been able to make some efforts to its pocket so that it can hold a pen and a memo
pad. Also, I
chose, as its jacket, a coach jacket with a snap button for enabling you to put it and off easier. I
think this is just
another example of how my uniform is good in terms of functionality as well.
Do not get rusty mentally or physically. For achieving this, keep your inquisitive mind
Ippudo delivers the message of “Keep Changing for Not Changing”. The times and fashion come
and go at a very fast
speed. However, the core parts of NEIGHBORHOOD’s production process have been securely unchanged even if
have been renewed. I feel sympathy for this message in this point.
I think it is very true with today. Our societies are changing at a breakneck speed, aren’t
they? I suppose they have
been evolving very fast especially in the past several years, and I cannot ignore this phenomenon with
saying that I
have nothing to do with it. I believe it is important for you to accept the changes of the times and
adjust yourself to
them to some extent. This is how I understand the message of “Keep Changing for Not Changing”.
Are you saying that your brand has to change according to the times for continuing to deliver
its unchanged message
of “CRAFT WITH PRIDE”?
Yes. To this end, the most important point is not to get rusty anyhow. You have to keep using
both your mind and body.
In Japan, I often feel the idea of not changing is highly respected even as beautiful. I am not saying
that I will deny
such idea completely, or rather, I guess it would be great to express yourself based on such idea
although depending on
how you express it. Having said that, however, I feel you might get rusty if you are too much obsessed
virtue. Keep your inquisitive mind and curiosity. I think that’s the way it should be.
I want to keep creating the items that will bring your lifestyle to the next stage.
On the theme of Ippudo Australia uniform, we have been interviewing you about a wide range of
things. Mr. Takizawa,
what kinds of images would you have toward local staff members to wear this uniform?
They could be a Japanese, an Asian or a woman. If you ask me, I would go with a tough, wild
guy like the one appearing
on the movie titled Crocodile Dundee (lol). Looking at their mental side, I would be happy if their
motivation for the
work and their job performance are raised just by putting on this uniform. We touched earlier on where
came from, the staff member responsible for Ippudo Australia being a fan of NEIGHBORHOOD. Likewise, I
myself was a big
fan of London’s street fashion items when I was young. I can still clearly remember the feeling of
satisfaction when I
managed to get one of those items because obtaining it then was not as easy as today. I know I am talking
about the two
completely different situations, but I wish local staff members would have a sense of excitement like
mine when they
put on my uniform.
NEIGHBORHOOD is going to eventually mark its 25th anniversary in 2019. Would you please tell
us about your vision on
your future production activities?
Actually, we have already launched a new line of business, like producing tents in
collaboration with outdoor
manufactures. We live in the era requiring the stuff called lifestyle gear, so I have been thinking it
interesting to continue to produce practical gears. Putting it into the words like “gears produced by a
would sound pretty cheap, but I have a dream of one day producing fishing rods and lures. Such fishing
come with style, so I want to make a proposal on their style as well. Speaking of the 25th anniversary of
while honestly surprising with the fact that 25 years have been already passed, I actually feel a sense
has been changed since its establishment in 1994. We will not celebrate by ourselves our 25th anniversary
opportunity to be proud of what we have done, but would rather celebrate it by releasing some of our
products through a
collection for showing our gratitude to people concerned and our customers. I don’t think we deserve
attention just by
staying in the business for 25 years, so I am thinking about holding an event or like that will amuse and
other than us.
Born in Nagano Prefecture, Japan in 1967. Involved in motorcycles and related counterculture
Neighborhood in Harajuku, Tokyo in 1994.
Established 1994. Incorporates elements of motorcycling, military, outdoor, and traditional
fashion in a unique
approach to basic apparel and lifestyle that is the foundation to all their products and projects.
President of Over The Mountain editorial and production firm, with offices in Shoin-Jinjamae,
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo and
Kofu, Yamanashi. The company’s work spans a wide range from client jobs in print and on the web to
organizing their own events. The firm’s name reflects their determination to reach solutions “on the
other side of
mountainous obstacles” as they continue to develop.
President of creative agency Zignic. Handles a diverse range of product development, design,
and promotion strategies
in sectors including domestic and foreign apparel, cosmetics, food, hotels, and theme parks. Known for
planning crossing traditional boundaries of industry and nation, and knowledgeable about World Heritage
traditional Japanese crafts. Proposed this IPPUDO OUTSIDE site; involved in website design for Ippudo.
Member of Japan
Graphic Designers Association (JAGDA).http://ziginc.co.jpCROSS TALK #06