Ryo Yoshihashi, better known under his pseudonym KIRA has worked for numerous well-known Japanese brands including N.Hollywood, Cosmic Wonder, Mastermind Japan or United Arrows.
As part of the creative agency Roots and the fashion/arts/entertainment collective Gypsy Three Orchestra, KIRA has been in charge of countless fashion collaborations, events, retail projects and more. It was KIRA who brought sportswear brand Hummel to Japan, and it was KIRA that collaborated with the Danish company on the new fashion line Hummel J. We took a look at the upper streetwear label’s third collection for Spring/Summer 2014 at Bread & Butter in Berlin last month and had a chat with the Japanese Designer. Interview by Maria Hunstig

What is special about the Hummel J Spring/Summer 2014 collection?
We used a lot of prints, our three main themes and motifs are bees, the grass and a sun turned inside out like a circle. We also mixed a lot of different materials together on the garments.
And additionally we paid a lot of attention to functions, so we offer styles where you can detach the sleeves or parts of the length with zippers. We mixed sports and high-end elements. It’s a sportswear collection for the fashion world and you can wear the styles for sports and also in your free time.

How do you distribute the line?
In Japan, my team and I take care of the wholesale business ourselves whereas Hummel handles the distribution in the rest of the world. We generally aim at high fashion stores both in Japan and Europe, stores like Colette in Paris.

What are the differences between your Japanese and European customers?
The Japanese customers like to wear a lot of layers on top of each other and they are much more into technical features. Also in Japan, the classic Hummel J customer is on average 25 – 40 years old, while in Europe we have a much younger consumer base, even teenagers are buying the line. I guess this phenomenon is linked to the price point of the collection. But in general, I think both markets are not so different from each other anymore. The people do similar things and the world is getting smaller thanks to the Internet, which makes everything sort of borderless.