“Genderless, ageless, borderless”, — it’s the slogan of japanese clothing brand FINDERS KEEPERS. became the continuation of the creative path of Kazuyki Akitani (aka Hipster), a designer with more than ten years of experience in the clothing industry. With changed of Mr. Akitani’s life views, his brand also changed: few years ago it was leather motorcycle jackets and denim, but now it is bright and unusual clothing that are equally suitable for guys and girls.|
Mr. Akitani told us about the Tokyo fashion in 1990s, favorite hip-hop groups, love of sport, his student years and, of course, about FINDERS KEEPERS brand.
Tell us about your teenager years.
When I was a teenager I spent everyday skateboarding and dancing to hip hop, and also I’m very fashion-geek so people thought of me as I’m bit crazy, ha-ha. Because there is no one from kids to have interesting for fashion at that time in Japan.
What inspired you in these days?
There are two big events that impacted me.
One is American Culture which I got from Skateboard and Hip Hop Dance culture. The other one is Japanese original culture we called “Shibu Casi” which at that time was very trend in Shibuya area with American casual style, and that’s my everything now.
As for music, I used to listen to Hip Hop since my teenage years. Especially Wu-Tang Clan and BEASTIE BOYS, there are my favorite bands and I’ve got lots of impact from them. Now I’m also listening New School Hip Hop like a Kanye West or ASAP Rocky…
What the Japanese fashion looked like in the 90s? Was there something special and unusual about it?
90s Tokyo Fashion was awesome. It was very Chaotic in a very good way. I’m still working in Harajuku area as everyday, but I remember it very clearly like a yesterday.
The most impressive thing…. there are so many that I can’t tell you, but everybody has a power. Though it was desperate energy but in a positive way. Earlier I could meet super dope guys or very cute girls in everywhere. But now, we can’t find anyone who have energy like that.
When did you start to be interested in clothes and fashion?
When I was 11 years old, in my neighborhood one very stylish lady she wore LEVI’S jeans, and that exactly my first time that I got impact from someone.
Why I chose fashion industry? I just wanna become someone in Fashion, so that I decided to become Stylist when I’m 22 years old. Then I attended the special school of fashion.
As we know, you was a student of the Japanese stylist Mr. Tetsuo Kitahara. Tell us about this.
Mr.Kitahara was a super charismatic stylist of Japanese Top 5. There is over 100 assistants that he has at that time. I jumped over and became assistant, and normally it takes 3~4 years to be independent but I made it only in 13 months. But of course I made effort more than anyone else to succeed.
After graduation I became an independent stylist. I worked with fashion magazines and famous musicians. Also Tokyo Collection I’ve done. In that time, I I understood an important thing: Don’t give up and make effort.
Why did you decide to change the role from the stylist to the designer?
Working as a stylist, my ideals for clothes everyday become higher and I wasn’t satisfied about clothes created by various designers.
That’s why I wanted to supplement it myself.
In 2011, you created your brand. Why did you decide to do this? And why did you choose the name FINDERS KEEPERS?
In 2007, we had brand before FINDERS KEEPERS; that was just trial but made big hit. And also I’ve got lot of votes to restart that brand.
FINDERS KEEPERS name is from my previous brand partner from USA, and also as the name of the person who got it would have a good influence on his lifestyle. There is a wish that you want someone to be.
Tell us about main concept of FINDERS KEEPERS.
At that time me made denim and horse leather clothes, but now we just make what we are interested in.
Today there are so many information, so if you split it into categories by gender or ages, you will lose the opportunity of business.
I think from now, anyone can wear and entertainment is the needs of fashion today. Especially Japanese fashion industry ignored essential flow of contry’s economy and that very dangerous.
You often collaborate with other brands to create your own things. What collaboration or joint work was the most interesting for you? And why?
All the collaborations were meaningful but especially that was big event with JESSE who is the vocalist from RIZE and TheBONEZ who are leaders of Japanese loud-punk.
And also, it was very appreciated to collaborate with Mr. Kitahara. That project is the first offer from me after I become independent and also sold explosively so it’s good memory too.
Why you chose a lightning as a main symbol for S/S 2018 collection?
I wanted to bring something special to FINDERS KEEPERS. Until the S/S 2018 collection, we focused on quality, but this time we decided to make lightning as a its “icon”.
Tell us about your new collection. What were you inspired by to create it? And why you decided to decorate things with lightnings?
The 2018 AW’s new collection features the contemporary high-spec side of the 90’s street and relaxed aspects I used.
But trends and also my mind bit changed and I wanted some overwhelming icon and created it, with take a long time.
By the way, as for time… How do you spend time off work?
I spend the time with my family, my wife and my son, because they are very precious for me.
My hobby is body training. It is the efforts to keep good body shape to be able to enjoy fashion forever.
If possible, share your plans for the future.
I want FINDERS KEEPERS gradually to expand overseas development, because I don’t have an overseas account now.
Also I want to open a flagship shop again in Harajuku Tokyo. I don’t want to rush into it, but that’s my plan.