Label watch - Visvim

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One aspect that unites most aspects of menswear is an obsessive focus on the details. Whether it's how much cuff to show or a streetwear aficionado's dithering over just how to tie their shoelaces, there's more common ground than first appears. So what happens when you mix these two worlds together? You get Japanese label Visvim.

Started by Hiroki Nakamura ten years ago, Visvim first came to our attention when we heard about their novel online sale process (you ask for their permission to buy an item and, if you're lucky and get chosen, are allowed to buy said item) and the five year process of joining a committee to use a certain type of cotton. We caught up with Hiroki himself to talk processes, manufacturing, prices and the exact deal with that cotton committee.

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"The sea island cotton committee protect the quality and standard of sea island cotton and promote their Sea Island brand," He states. "We became members to use their cotton." The Sea Island committee had previously only worked with dress shirt manufacturers before Visvim, who started using it on shirts and sweatshirts.

It's this dedication to the products that stands Visvim apart from a host of streetwear based labels. Nakamura worked for Burton snowboards for eight years before starting up his label. While walking us through their Paris showroom, He stops at a (surprisingly wearable) kimono, made by an artisan who hand knots the fabric from scratch. It's a painstaking process and only six can be made a year, making it more of a showpiece than anything else. When we asked about why he decided to do a Kimono, he said that "I thought that was very interesting and it was inspiring me to rediscover something in the past which I think, in our consumerism culture, we completely forgot."

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The other thing that stands Nakamura aside from the pack is his approach to trainers. All of Visvim's footwear is made on a goodyear welt and most come with a cork insole for breathability - something he originally started doing purely because he disliked wearing socks. "The goodyear welt is very comfortable, very functional and you can enjoy the product for a long time." Of course, making them on a goodyear welt means they can be repaired, a task Visvim will undertake if you send your footwear back to them. Although, seeing as they're based in Japan, the task isn't as easy as taking them back to your local cobbler.

With this approach to clothing comes a price tag that can become eye wateringly high (the aforementioned Kimono goes for the price of 15,000 Euros), how does he combat this? "This is just my perspective, but I would like to buy one nice pair of shoes instead of five ones. It's how you feel about being happy purchasing a product."  While we're not sure that answer will be a just explanation when buying a piece of clothing that costs more than a car, we can agree with the sentiment.

Although he's reached cult-like status in the world of streetwear, he doesn't necessarily see his products as streetwear, "I don't really present them style wise, I want them to fit everyone's life" he says. We're sure that's what attracted Moncler to him, having collaborated with Nakamura for a Moncler range that started out in Autumn/Winter 2010 and will finish with the upcoming autumn/winter 2011 collection. Although they may still be more in the pipeline saying that although his contract has finished, he'd still like to work with them in the future.

We may be seeing more of Visvim in the future, having recently opened a design studio in New York, but for now he has his mind set on one thing. "I'm trying to focus on the product - good quality product, long lasting product that will bring you happiness. I'm trying to make simple good product which fit everybody's life." Maybe the two worlds of menswear aren't so far apart after all.

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