Icons: Eiichiro Homma
Fashion and function, a fusion of two elements, that for a long time naturally seemed to belong together for European casual connoisseurs, tech wear lovers and students of the proper ways of dressing. After Supreme collaborated with Stone Island, Nike appointed Errolson Hugh as the designer of the ACG line and overall the terrace culture became focus of a more mainstream audience, more people in Europe started to dig deeper into the benefits and this magic combination of utility and design.
nanamica was founded. A brand that started to and still is revolutionizing the the art of combining functional, fashionable and minimalistic design. Within this process a child of The North Face Japan and nanamica was born - The North Face Purple Label. A nowadays holy grail for street wear lovers, hypebeasts and smart wardrobes around the globe. The creative head who started this Japanese legacy of a high level mix of style and function is Eiichiro Homma, a true Icon of the industry.
To understand why Eiichiro Homma was designing clothes with a smart twist, years before the western hemisphere got rid of this perfect fusion, you got to look into his story as a designer.
Eiichiro Homma was designing and marketing marine clothing for Goldwin Inc. for 18 years, a business that included brands such as The North Face and Helly Hanson. Mr. Homma literally learned and mastered everything from scratch to perfection, what was and is needed to create the perfect outerwear. Years later he used this knowledge to create two brands that are producing the finest garments and smartest design in this era of functional fashion.
nanamica is the core brand of the family that fuses classic silhouettes with tech material such as GORE TEX and creates the perfect blend of technical aspects based garments with an American heritage vibe. Classics designs such as a GORE TEX trench, that gives you a smart look at every occasion you can get into, and secures your way home even if you manage to get into a heavy storm on your walk back from the pub. Isn't this lovely and smart at the same time?
Even though nanamica is a Japanese brand, its far away from being a niche product for Japanese people only. nanamica is a global brand, to show what being Japanese means and introduce great products to the world. The name “nanamica” itself, roughly translated into “House of the Seven Sees”, connects the world alltogether.
The North Face Purple Label is a whole nother story with unifying elements. As a collaboration between TNFJapan and nanamica it unites both brands aesthetics and aspects. TNF is a technical outdoor brand that is always on the edge of new technologies and functional additions to their creations. nanamica adds the emotional taste and love of the people for smart design and fashion and fuses it with TNF's principles. The outcome is a brand that has the same garments, feel and look as TNF, with a Japanese fit and highly fashionable execution. A “low key Godzilla” that could easily rule them all, if this brand would not be exclusively available just in Japan. Since the owner of TNF trademark is different than the rest of the world, The Purple Label is not allowed to be sold outside the beautiful country of Japan.
2016 - Tokyo
With all that knowledge and deep respect running trough my veins I was standing in the nanamica Mountain store to wait for Eiichrio Homma. Before Mr. Homma showed up I was able to have a quick chat with Ian Hammond, who is taking care of nanamica's international sales and press. This was the perfect timing to meet Ian, because he is probably the nicest guy you can talk to if you already shaking up inside to meet one of the biggest icons of the industry. Ian was continuously trying to get the stir out of my mind with a style (and humour) you just would expect from someone who adds his own part to this great Japanese brand. While we were waiting Ian told me that Eiichiro puts a lot of passion and time into his work and is always the first that comes in and the last who leaves the office. From what I understand the work under Mr. Homma seems challenging and fulfilling at the same level. Ian seemed like a guy who works his ass of with a smile and a the right level of satisfaction
Right when I was starting to look through the different racks of Japanese brilliance grandmaster Homma stepped into the store and approached me with a smile. It took me about 135 seconds to loose all my fussiness because of Eiichrio being one of the most humble and casual guys you could imagine. After we had a little chat about my last weeks in Japan and the storm that was heading to Tokyo we decided to have a little walk trough the neighbourhood to the nanamica Daikanyama store. While we were walking I tried to come up with all the question I had in mind while preparing to meet Mr. Homma. As always I ended up talking about food, my love for Japan and asking him about his lunch routine.
Talking to Eiichiro Homma is quite an experience even though he approaches you on the same level and never shows a slightly glimpse of hybris or superiority. You still sense the presence of this Japanese fashion giant, but his open attitude and interest in your own story let me forget talking to one of the biggest names in fashion pretty fast. I guess that was part of the reason I could not squeeze in all the question I wanted to ask, even though Mr. Homma seemed like a guy who was willing to put a straight sentence with a dot behind every sentence with a question mark. Since Ian Hammond is a boss (as I told you) I got all the question I skipped to talk about food still answered later by Mr. Homma via email:
Dear Mr. Homma how does it feel seeing your creations being worn and respected by people all over the world?
Since nanamica and The North Face Purple Label share core values, is there still a simple way to differ both brands from one another?
The Purple Label is not available outside of Japan and i tend to think that nanamica is also a way to compensate this unavailability. Would you agree on that or do you see both brands telling slightly other stories?
Is there a European brand you are aware and how would you describe the European way of menswear?
... back in Tokyo
After Eiichiro Homma showed me around in his stores, casual talks, iced coffee and some photos, he still had the time and motivation to help me out find the secret restaurant I was looking for in that neighbourhood. Ian and Mr. Homma even guided me near that place, made sure I actually find it and left me with a smile. What a day.
A true Japanese Icon
Summarized the craft and legacy Eichiro Homma already created with TNF Purple Label and nanamica is more that impressive. For over 15 years both brands have been answering all questions fashion and tech wear lovers around the world were asking about. The aesthetics are always smart and technically covered to the maximum. The hype the mighty purple label has created around the world is justified and will always keeps this brand as an almost impossible inhabitant of your wardrobe.
People always should consider, that the magic of Mr. Hommas creations lies in nanamica with the same amount it does with the Purple Label. In contrary to the Purple Label you can get nanamica at a high end retailer near you or online easily. So the next time you're thinking about buying that (lovely) English or Italian heritage brand, the next hype brand, or just did not make the cut on a Thursday Supreme drop, think about buying something that lasts forever and will always contribute style and tech to you everyday. No matter if you're from the casual side, a classy G or more repping the street wear side of proper dressing, nanamica is a supreme weapon for all fashionable lovers all around the world and should be worn with respect and confidence, because you're wearing a monster of a creation!