Q1. Why do you like to read in an era when video platforms are more popular?
DEREK: I don't think the content in books can be found on video platforms. Books and movies are means of exploring the world in other ways. They present different views and meaning, and it’s possible to get in touch with others' ideas, not just mine. Books influence my design and make it more thorough.
Q2. When did you start reading books regularly and what do books mean to you?
DEREK: I used to dislike reading and found it boring. I started to read more and enjoy it at university. Books mean a lot, as it’s one of my interests that enables me to relax. I may not play games like others during my free time, I read instead. Books can also be a source of design inspiration.
Q3. Are there any other activities you enjoy during me-time?
DEREK: I’ll watch a movie if I’m stuck at home. I like to wander around when I go outdoors and observe everything around me, whether I’m hiking or just roaming about.
Q4. Many of the books you read are about traditional Japanese cultures, such as Kabuki and Ukiyo-e. Why do they appeal to you?
The Japanese appreciate their culture very much, and concepts related to traditional Japanese culture are very similar to that of my brand - like our study of the relationship between men and women. There are many interesting things in Japanese culture like geishas and clothing that is visually beautiful, such as kimonos. I love to explore how they wear these traditional costumes, and the makeup and hairstyles.
Japanese culture influences my design. One of my past collections was inspired by "oiran" which is a term to describe the highest-ranking courtesans in ancient Japan. Usually Japanese men have a higher social status than Japanese women, but oiran completely change the rules in their work place. I find this change very interesting and I want to explore more.
Q5. When did you find out that you love fashion?
DEREK: [Smiles]. At a very late stage. I guess it’s because I like to paint from an early age, and then when I face the stage that every student will go through, like selecting a major, I picked design, although I always thought there was a direct connection between painting and design when I was a child. From the different design disciplines, I chose fashion because I like things related to people. While architectural design also has a human connection, I’m more inclined to design related to and in contact with the body.