April 30, 2012

Pherrow’s: a Japanese exploration of iconic American fashion


By: Austin J.

I discovered the Pherrow’s label when I viewed a video clip on the Internet that was captivating and funny. I found every time I watched the video feelings of romance and playful tension reverberated with accessible humor that was accompanied by an excellent wardrobe. The beauty of the film reminded me of the timeless moment when one’s imagination inspires and facilitates a hopeful vision for the future. The clothing in the film exemplifies a classic, yet forward-thinking and youthful aesthetic that recalls an era where clothing was structured to suit the needs of an individual’s profession. Pherrow’s is recreating the quality of clothing of this era as well. Denim was a response to the need for affordable, durable and functional work-wear that allowed laborers to have a lightweight yet sturdy textile. The following interview is with Pherrow’s own Takashi Ando, a director and a designer of product dept.  He requested to be called Tak. I also had the honor of conversing with the founder, designer, and company president, Mr. Shimura.

Austin J: I see fashion as an art form where the creators build on various facets of prior work to produce new pieces, from where do you draw inspiration when designing your clothing?

Mr. Shimura: Much like medicinal cures that are handed down, everything derives from something else. The way we use certain products, or products that are created as the result of pure coincidence, the fundamental thought for ourfashion is based on a combination of wisdom and existing designs from our predecessors.  This notion of using ideas passed down is not used only in fashion, but is the source for all styles and insights in the field of design.

Austin J: As Pherrow’s has grown, how have you been able to maintain the same level of style and creativity that your initial products embody?

Mr. Shimura: I entered the fashion world as an illustrator.  I was a total amateur when I began making clothing, but being an amateur led me to create new and unique ideas different from the traditional approach to fashion. I am aware that eventually, I will run out of new and fresh ideas, which is why I need to pass down the ideas and skills I’ve learned to the next generations. I find it exciting that with each new generation, their own take and ideas will change how Pherrow’s grows.

Austin J: As an international brand that began in Japan, how has the introduction of Pherrow’s to the world market been received abroad?

Mr. Shimura: At present, our international market consists of Hong Kong andother parts of Asia. Like other Japanese jean brands, our main product isreplica vintage jeans. However, in order to export abroad, we need to obtain abrand trademark for the stitch design on our jeans.  We’ve already registered in England, Hong Kong, and Taiwan but have been refused by the U.S.because of the voicing of a famous jeans company that begins with an”L”.  Maybe they consider our company a threat to their market?lol.

Austin J: (this question is addressed to Tak)- What is your favorite english word?

Takashi Ando: “Absolutely!”  This is the word I like. I don’tknow why. I just love the sound of it when people say so.

Austin J: Your brand’s style encapsulates a tumultuous time in American history, how has reflecting upon that time period influenced your vision for Pherrows?

Mr. Shimura: My impression of American apparel culture is, in short, theculture of uniforms. Military fashion during the wars or worker uniforms suchas Coca-Cola are the types of images that make me think Americans worked hard while being stylish and paying close attention to design.  This sense of style really shined from the 50s to the 70s. Pherrow’s draws inspiration from this era, and redesigns them from a contemporary point of view.

Austin J: What inspired the name “Pherrow’s”?

Mr. Shimura: It comes from the idea of an imaginary character I created called”Lucky Pherrow”, who has taken all of the fashion styles he’s lived through (40’s – 70’s) to create his own fashion.  You could say he’s an alter ego of myself, lol.





The following interview is with Jason Ho, The director of the film for Pherrow’s.

Austin J: What was the inspiration for the music video you did for Pherrow’s Sportswear?

Jason Ho:  They make American style vintage clothing, so I wanted to create something that would capture that vibe of 50’s style. We tried to say something that was classic but timeless. That’s why we set the video in a garage. I asked the owner “how do you want people to feel about the clothes?” His response was,“after a date (wearing the brands clothing) I want people to say ‘oh I’m glad Iwore this” its romantic and charming, and something that would leave an impression on somebody.

Austin J: ’50s style has seen a recent resurgence in the fashion world, what would you attribute this to?

Jason Ho:  The fashion, I think everything kind of cycles through, and before the style has been flashier. And now with the music scene and fashion peopleare looking for something more mature. Its about getting back to a not so complicated feeling and something that matches that is ’50s fashion.

Austin J: How did the brand get started?

Jason Ho:  The owner, Mr. Shimura, loves American vintage fashion, he and a friend found a Steve McQueen leather jacket and they redesigned it and made it. They decided they would make around 100 and try to sell them and they were successful with that after that people wanted more styles, and were asking for more jackets, and they decided to go ahead and continue producing clothing.

Austin J: What are some of the brands influences?

Jason Ho:  Old movies from 30’s 40’s and 50’s, vintage prison garb, the periodin American history of coal mining and the early levis, and the different war periods, Hawaiian shirts with patterns of Rod Serling’s face.

Austin J: What aspects of Pherrow’s style did you draw on during the production of your short film?

Jason Ho: If you look at the shirts they have a car mechanics shirts, trucker caps,things from different mechanics shops- so I decided to shoot the video in agarage.

Austin J:  Pherrow’s is primarily a Japanese brand, what have they done to enter into the world market?

Jason Ho: They are selling things in mainly Asia; they sell in china, Thailand, and some other Southeast Asian countries.

I look forward to following Mr. Shimura’s line and anticipate a successful entrance into the U.S. fashion markets. This label will be doing big things. Thank you to Mr. Shimura, Takashi Ando, and Jason Ho. I will update this article as soon as Pherrow’s is made available in the United States.





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