Material conscious design process
Blueover limited edition items released every season.
This time, we asked the brand's designer, Watari, to talk about the 20AW concept from its inception to the completion of the items.
The encounter with the core leather and the selection of parts with consideration to light reflection.
And what is “blueover-like Ambai”?
Staff member Egawa will ask you for details.
Egawa: This time, we will talk to blueover's designers about the seasonal items released in the fall and winter of 2020. thank you.
Egawa: The 20AW series is mainly made of black nubuck, with the sole and shoelaces all being black.
Egawa: First, I would like to ask you about the design process. Where did you start? Did you come up with details such as colors and textures, or did you create an overall image of the series and then worked on the details?
Watari: The nubuck material we used this time was a material we happened to find when we went to the tannery (Sanyo Leather) that makes our original leather.
In most cases, you have to make a lot of leather during the manufacturing process.
Egawa: I guess it's like a backup.
Watari: Yes. In other words, we end up making more leather than the manufacturer orders, resulting in a certain amount of unused leather.
Egawa: That's simply a waste.
Watari: It was against this background that I discovered this leather, and it is a very high quality leather. I felt that if this were made into shoes, something cool would be created.
So, I negotiated and was allowed to use it.
Egawa: So, when I came across that nubuck, I had in mind the idea of using it...
Watari: Well, I feel like this project started with the concept of nubuck.
Egawa: That being said, I feel that the all black is structured to bring out the nubuck.
Egawa: The themes of these seasons are Watari-san's inner manifestations... or are they something that comes out from within? Do you also incorporate external factors such as trends?
Watari: I'm conscious of trends, but I don't think Blue Over reflects that strongly. However, the thoughts and feelings that I am aware of in my daily life are reflected in my products in various ways.
Egawa: Blue Over is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, so I've been looking back at past series, and I feel like none of them have faded. If you follow trends, things may not always turn out like this.
*The photo above is Mikey from spring/summer 2013.
Egawa: From my perspective, Mr. Watari's work is not just deciding on colors and shapes, which is what everyone immediately imagines when they hear the word "design," but also on determining materials such as leather and combining them at the time. I feel like I'm similar to a chef in that way.
Watari: That's right...
Both in terms of the brand concept and personally, I believe that ``design'' should not be too prominent and become a hindrance to the product. It's true that it's similar to a chef's way of thinking in terms of bringing out the best in the ingredients (lol)
Egawa: But that alone tends to end up with something too ordinary, so adding a teaspoon of individuality to it might be the Blue Over's best option.
Egawa: I mentioned earlier that my encounter with black nubuck was the start, but as the name suggests, this season's all-black is all black, from the upper to the sole to the shoelaces.
For that reason, the outline of each part stands out rather than just looking completely black.
Watari: Black is a color that creates a variety of expressions, and there are so many different types, including texture and color. This all black shoe has different textures and colors in the nubuck, midsole, and shoelaces.
Nubuck has a matte texture and has shorter piles than velor. The way the light reflects creates a really beautiful outline.
Egawa: Shoelaces, on the other hand, use waxed strings, whose surfaces are coated with wax and reflect light.
This contrast probably makes the parts stand out.
Egawa: Even though the shades of black are almost the same, the way they look differs by taking into account the way the light is reflected.
Watari: Yes. The carved EVA cross section of the midsole absorbs light, giving it a different look than nubuck.
Even though it's black, we tried to avoid giving it a sloppy look by contrasting the materials.
Egawa: The all-black design of each model is almost the same, but while the Mikey's lining is made of bare pig leather as usual, the Shorty TR's lining is made of cowhide.
Watari: That's right, at first I thought about using cowhide for everything, but Mikey ended up choosing the simplicity of pork.
Normally, I would choose a bare leather for the Shorty TR if it was made of smooth leather, but for this all black one, I wanted to use cowhide to give it a more chic impression. It feels like a combination of the sporty-like elements of Shorty TR and the mature impression of the material.
Mikey didn't like that combination.
Egawa: Certainly. For Mikey, this whitish bare pigskin looks great.
The color of the material is added or subtracted for each model.
Egawa: This season, in addition to the all-black Mikey, Marco, and Shorty TR, we also released the smooth white/black Shorty TR. These two colors are reprints of the colors that were also released in the original Shorty.
Watari: I guess this is simply a matter of restraint (lol).
After all, I want to make smooth leather white/black as a standard, and I want it.
Egawa: That's a necessary aspect for today's Blue Over.
If you want it to be authentic, there are a lot of things you are particular about.
Watari: Well, I also chose smooth this time. After all, it is a classic material and color, so the key point is which leather to choose. The smooth leather we are using this time is made by a tanner in Tatsuno in Hyogo Prefecture.
Egawa: The place name Tatsuno has just come up, but is there any relationship between the quality of the leather and the location?
Watari: It is not well known, but the finish of leather varies depending on the hardness of the river water where it is made.
That's it. Tanner said. (lol)
Egawa: Huh! (Laughs) It has something to do with water quality.
Watari: Many of Tatsuno's leathers are quite supple.
The leather used this time is also soft and chewy, with a nice touch. I would love for everyone to try it out!
Watari: Until I started this job, I had always thought that "leather is leather, right?"...
When I ask customers to try on the shoes in stores, or when I try them on myself, I've come to realize that even if the same model is made of different leather for the upper, the comfort of the shoes can be surprisingly different.
I'd like you to put your feet in and feel the all-black models and the smooth Shorty TR.
Egawa: Interviews are interesting because you get to hear about things you don't usually talk about. I would like to do it again!
thank you very much.
Watari: Thank you!