Blue Over is a sneaker brand born in Osaka. While I (Hitoshi Watari) was undertaking product design work as a freelancer, I began to have doubts about the cycle of product development and consumption. Furthermore, after witnessing the decline of domestic manufacturing factories, in 2011 he decided to bring about change by investing himself in this cycle, so he launched Blue Over.
■Background of shoe making
Shoes are made up of many materials such as uppers, soles, laces, and insoles, all of which are manufactured through a division of labor at small-scale manufacturers. Due to various reasons such as follow-up problems, the aging population, and cost competition overseas, it has become difficult to produce sneakers entirely in Japan, but Blue Over procures as much material as possible domestically. , is manufacturing. Although it is not a large-scale project, we would like to make use of the connections between factories and the local community to ensure that we do not lose our domestic manufacturing sites. Why?
I was born and raised in the period from the late 1980s to 2000, when Japan was known as a manufacturing powerhouse.I myself was involved in product design and visited various factories. This is because we want to give back to the manufacturing industry that has supported us.
■Influence from folk crafts
In my work (product design), I am influenced by one movement. It is the Mingei movement advocated by Soetsu Yanagi. The early 1900s was a time when mass production began due to industrialization. At the same time, crafts became an ornate and decorative presence, and based on this background, Mr. Soetsu Yanagi believes that true beauty lies in the lifestyle that is rooted in each region's climate and suitable environment. He showed that the products born from the handiwork of anonymous craftsmen are pure, ``useful and wholesome beauty.''
Beauty that exists in life. I was strongly influenced by this idea, and I believe that even in modern society, it is important to create designs based on the local culture and cultivated techniques, and I try to avoid unnecessary designs as much as possible. Masu. Blue Over's activity is to maintain the presence of craftsmen (production areas) who can create such healthy beauty.
So what does Blue Over's design mean? It is about designing the obvious. In other words, the shoes are ``comfortable to wear.''
For example, they carve a wooden last that fits a Japanese foot. Choose a material that will adapt to your feet the more you wear it. The pattern is designed so that there is no stress when the legs are bent. Set the optimal sole hardness for walking, not running. A timeless look that you can continue to wear without being influenced by trends.
The next most important factor is that it can be used for a long time. To ensure long-term use, choose durable materials and make sure the toe and heel core material is sturdy. Depending on the model, a bottom material that is hard to scratch or a manufacturing method that allows for replacement is used. These may seem obvious, but they are not easy to achieve. The design that Blue Over offers is to design shoes that are comfortable and can be worn for a long time.
I sometimes think that shoes are very mysterious products. Shoes are a tool that connects and transports the wearer's body to the outside world. It can be said to be a unique entity that straddles the boundary line that connects the body and the ground. Whether it's good times or hard times, we always share time with each other and accept them for who they are. I was particularly drawn to shoes like that.
Sometimes I look at the shoes I cherished when I was a student, and it brings back memories from those days. The emotions that come back with memories are not only nostalgia, but also emotions similar to love. Is it because the well-worn shoes literally feel like friends with whom we have shared joys and sorrows? The Blue Over is also designed to be comfortable and make you want to wear it all the time, so that the people who wear it can create memories.
｜Can be worn for a long time
Worn-in shoes show the natural oils and texture that comes from being exposed to nature. Shoes that are made to be worn for a long time will be cared for over that period of time, and will acquire more flavor. When I look at the well-maintained shoes, I sense a richness in them. It may seem intuitive, but I believe that valuing things brings comfort, peace, and warmth not only to the things themselves, but also to ourselves. The fact that Blue Over is a shoe that can be worn for a long time means that the more you wear it, the richer your expression becomes, and the more you wear it, the richer your spirit will be.
■Normal but special shoes
BLUE OVER aims to create shoes with wholesome beauty. By wearing them, the relationship between the person and the shoes becomes something ordinary, yet a little special. We will play a part in protecting and nurturing the shoe industry and culture that have been passed down in local communities, as well as the people who work there, and show that we can also be part of a healthy cycle.
Let's enjoy spiritual richness, not material richness, and live together every day. We believe that with repeated care, repair, and continued wear, the Blue Overcoat will eventually be reborn into its ``true form''. As the wearer wears it, the natural flavor will deepen over time, and it will become a special, natural item, like a friend.
■The meaning of wearing a blue overcoat
I hope that the people who wear these shoes will have a healthy mind and have the opportunity to spend time in peace and warmth.
The accumulation of shoemaking techniques and the people who will inherit them. And to the people who wear the shoes created by them. Blue Over wants to be a wholesome and beautiful sneaker made in Japan. We hope that these shoes will take shape over time and become memorable and beautiful for you.
Learn more about the brand
#1 Deep concept interview
While referring to the concept statement bit by bit, designer Watari, who wrote it, and staff member Egawa will delve into the content in an interview format.READ MORE
#2 Future blueover
The designer, who is celebrating his 10th anniversary, writes about the future of the brand.READ MORE