Freshness Feature: Interview with Ewan Reynolds

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Produced by Debre/ Freshness Japan
Edited by Poe
Photos by Aki, Debre

Whether its high-end fashion to urban apparel, the city of Tokyo is a canvas for designers and brands to showcase their latest as well as experimentation of untried ideas. In comes Levi's ®Japan, with its F.L.U. collection. The collection address concepts and trends found on the streets of Tokyo as well as urban centers around the world, intermingle with the heritages of Levi's®.

Juxtaposed against this backdrop is Ewan Reynolds, the multi-talented designer who co-directs F.L.U. with Takahiro Okazawa. Reynolds was also responsible for the interior of Elesco, F.L.U.'s new flagship in Aoyama district of Tokyo. On the side, Reynolds established PLAYFORD, a label that explores the mixture of athleticism and urban culture. Freshness had the rare opportunity to talk with the busy designer on a number of subjects recently, including the the upcoming collection of F.L.U. and the theme of Elesco. Here is what he has to say...

> PLAYFORD LTD.
> Elesco
> Levi's ® Strauss Japan

Hello, please tell us about yourself

Hello, my name is Ewan Reynolds. I direct, design, and operate my design firm, Playford Ltd. I'm also the Co-Creative Director of Levi's® F.L.U. line.

Full interview after the jump...

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Your label, Playford, recently collaborated with Levi's on the planning and designing of its newest retail location, Levi's® ELESCO, at the very heart of Aoyama district of Tokyo. Tell us what it is like?

It was an honor to be able to design the concept store for a brand with 150 years of history like Levi's. It was just pure excitement being at the site everyday planning its design and visualizing its outcome.

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What were the ideas and themes you incorporated into ELESCO?

ELESCO is the concept store for "Sports & Design". It is the new direction Levi's is heading to explore with this brand, F.L.U. I designed the venue with the image of a city athlete in a stadium at night. The concrete walls, black artificial turf, the steel locker room racks and other ideas were inspired from that theme.

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You touched on this earlier. Today's denim labels come and go. Yet, this 150 year old brand holds an unique stature in consumers'
mind, especially those in Japan. Tell us the first pair of Levi's
® that made you took interest in the brand?

I've been wearing Levi's® denim since way back I don't even remember but they became a special pair to me when I first got a hold of the vintage XX. The indigo colour, hidden rivets, red selvidge, etc. The idea of these exclusive parts were new to me and I found it really cool. That's how I started getting deeper into its history.

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You, along with Takahiro Okazawa (Creative Director of CLS), are the Creative Directors for Levi's® F.L.U. Collection, an exclusive line sold at ELESCO . Share with us a bit regarding the current and upcoming season's concept for Levi's® F.L.U.?

Spring/Summer 2007 was our first season taking over the creative direction of F.L.U. So it was a season to show the potentials of what we, as the new directors, thought Levi's® is capable of doing in this different market. We made drastic changes from the previous season such as the bringing in the hologram two-horse patch and using the Coolmax denim in the 3D patterns. We plan to keep the F.L.U. denim evolving and introduce more technology and ideas never used before.

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Some of us at Freshness are also big fans of the F.L.U. line, the denim especially. They are exceptionally comfortable. At the same time, very functional. We noticed a very unique design not found on other denims - the rear pockets have been moved slightly towards the thigh. How did this idea come about?

We observe the detailed body movements of ourselves and others, and these small things we notice here lead to inspirations for shapes and patterns. We want F.L.U. designs to be as practical and useful to its wearer as possible, so it could be a good wearable tool for their lifestyle.

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When you and Okazawa-san designed F.L.U. products, do you have a certain type of customer in mind? Someone will fit into the silhouette exactly or whose styles reflect your visualization perfectly?

Just everyone. I want people to feel its difference to a normal denim.

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You are quite a busy man. As mentioned before, not only you are the Co-Creative Director for Levi's F.L.U. You are also a Director at Japanese fashion and design label, Playford....
Playford was founded in 2001 so I can have my own place to create. We aim to express the futuristic vibe of Tokyo through our creations. Apart from our main apparel line, we do a Mixed Martial arts line for Pride & K-1 fighters, interior designing of bars and stores and also product design for different projects.

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Last but not least, any message for the readers of Freshness...

Keep on checking out our F.L.U. line. Many projects are planned to get it more exciting every season. Keep on checking us through freshnessmag.com & freshnessmag.com - Japan, the best mag on the web. Peace.