Interview by Justin Long
Photography by Yang Tan
Sunlight Ascending – Vanil/Requiescat
All The Memories, All At Once (2009)
The journey of creativity is never a straightforward one with its branches extending to and permeating all aspects of life. Such is the case for Daisuke Nishida, founder and designer of Japan’s cutting edge male fashion label, Devoa.
Pushing the boundaries of modern day fashion design, his background as a wrestler is a salient influence on his design direction. Understanding the inexorable atrophy and simultaneous evolvement of the human body as an unbreakable chain, he mirrors that in his work that fits the unique shape of each individual’s body.
Devoa comes from the Spanish word devota, which means to devote, to be faithful. There is no better word to encompass the label’s most sincere desire to give its wearer the best.
So Daisuke, what prompted the career switch from wrestler to designer?
I’ve all along enjoyed designing and making clothing, but not professionally. I have been wrestling since my school days, and joined Toyota motors as part of their wrestling team. While wrestling, I was also making clothing through reconstructing used clothes. To continue wrestling in Toyota was too tough, so I became a medical instructor, where I studied and learned about the human anatomy and physiology. In those days, my knowledge was purely academic. Simultaneously, I was working as a shop staff in a boutique. However, I found it more interesting to make clothing so I started working at a factory to harness some real designing experience. I’ve never been schooled in apparel design, and am not sure about a direct influence, but my grandfather was a tailor. Perhaps my aesthetic influence came from my maternal family’s flower arrangement and tea ceremony business.
Wrestling and clothing making are quite similar.
They both require one to think deeply about the human body structure and movement. In making clothes, the output will be the pattern for each clothing. Whereas in wrestling, it would be the movement and action the wrestler will be taking.
The design approach on tops and pants are entirely different.
In designing tops and clothes worn on the upper body, we try to make a pattern that fits the contours of the body. However, for pants, we emphasize on making the legs look longer by making an unnatural cut and line and creating wrinkles in certain points to accentuate the vertical appearance.
The pattern of Devoa is changing and evolving every season.
Basically, the human body itself will not change in the short term as the body is a creation of God. So we are trying to visualize the change and how it evolves. Making clothes is like designing new muscles and creating a future human body. It is an imaginary vision of human body evolution. The book on the fashion philosophy of Devoa which was made 8 years ago contains a collection of my personal sketches and design philosophy, and nothing has changed since I made this rule book. The challenge is how to imagine the evolution of the human body and make the material and pattern to fit that.
Read more in N˚5: Arrival.