Inspired by the Taiwanese youth in the military camps and Tom Chang, a Taiwanese singer, songwriter and music producer that is considered a national hero; during the training period his songs were usually recurred and the efforts made at the time, have marked the brave future of the three brothers of Necessity Sense.
Could you (Steve, Richard and Michael) give us some notes on your background and how you ended up working together and fusing your creativity in Necessity Sense?
We grew up in Kaohsiung (second largest city in Taiwan), spent our high school career in Tokyo, and completed our collage diploma in the United States. Building our own brand has been in our DNA, ever since we learnt about fashion from our Dad. Since we don't come from a fashion background, we had a difficult time to step in to the game. During the end of my freshman year, I had the opportunity to work at an uprising Los Angeles based label, Stampd. From then, I was inspired to pursue my career in fashion. Seeing that, there is a gap of high-end street market in Taiwan, I decided to open our own select shop with my brothers. After operating the store for a year, we felt that there wasn't a brand that had great price adjacencies with quality that represented our culture. Therefore, we decided to step in and create a brand that can speak directly to our customer's experiences. Necessity Sense is about statement, not garment.
How did your military experience and the Taiwanese youth in military camps influence you for the new "Closed Window" collection?
My personal military experience was a journey that exposed people from all age groups, social levels and backgrounds coming together under one strict code of rules, and their reaction and reflections towards them.
These experiences led to the collection theme "Closed Window", where freedom is explored amongst youth dilemmas with the mIlitary's career path. Drawing inspiration from our regiment's quote "When God closes a door, he opens a window", these words were motivational in many ways but many at camp including myself felt the contrary that "When God closes a door, often, I closed my own window."
This collection not only raises thoughts to life experiences that could be blinding even though there is light but also reflects my outlook during the military days that with the same opportunity given to all that was present, some might view it as a loss while another might see it as gold. I wish everyone could try to see the gold in all their experiences.
I thought a Closed Window is an interesting contrast. Closed is often a correlation to a trapped or blinded situation and a window is a very clear and transparent object. This contrasting mindset has led the inspiration behind this collection, from contrasting colour ways, traditional to contemporary style, to the campaign's messaging and creative direction.
Necessity Sense perfectly combines the unconventional and innovation, placing it in modern times. Is the vision also connected to a specific time and space?
The vision is to create a time machine that connects our modern western knowledge to traditional eastern culture and objects. We are mainly inspired by the late 80's to early 90's, when most of us were bored and when major Asian countries' economy were first experiencing economy and culture boom. During that time, Eastern Culture and Western Culture seems to be very dissected and separated. So, the vision is to connect to a time and space in our imagination where we collide the two parallel universe that never met during that time period.
I can see so many references to Eastern authors and film directors of the time when seeing this new collection, was that intentional?
Not necessarily intentional I would say...it's more of something that comes naturally since these experiences are something we grew up with. The arts and films have been engraved into our minds at such a young age when our minds thirst for all kinds of knowledge and different exposure of experiences. Throughout time these memories often faded and replaced by new ones. We've now come to an age of where we like to acknowledge own roots, rediscover our identity, and appreciate our own culture's art-form, especially after living abroad through teenage years to adulthood. There is a very deep tie between us and these references...in a way very emotional. We would like to reinterpret these messages from the references we use, in our own language to the current society and the new generation.
I love everything the creative process is offering nowadays, specifically in fashion, there are no limits. Is the future of fashion a big melting pot signed by collaborations and innovation?
That is very interesting. Since the start of our developing process, we have often joked about this and called ourselves "hotpot". Hotpot is a very traditional Chinese dish, where you put all ingredients into a steaming pot. I believe our design process has been a group effort since the start with multiple references at once, but channelled through a cohesive voice in the end. So, I'm not surprised that the future of fashion will be a melting pot with a lot of criss-crossing across various industries. Due to the speed of information spreading through the internet, I think this trend is applicable to many industries besides fashion too.
photography ALIEN WANG
interview DONALD GJOKA
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