The Market Makers – A Conversation with Fraser Cooke and Hiroshi Fujiwara

By - September 8th, 2009

The Market Makers   A Conversation with Fraser Cooke and Hiroshi Fujiwara

“Perhaps their lateness is some form of divine intervention?”…

As I thought to myself.  Seated in a café nestled behind flashy dance clubs and trendy boutiques, I watched weekend revelers packed into alleyways in the popular East District of Taipei City.  Still the streets are congested even more so this Friday night.  Making the vehicular traffic from the usual trickle to non-existent.  The reason – Kobe Bryant’s visit to Nike’s TPE 6453 Gallery 2 doors down.  But I’m in this city of 2 million plus not to absorb the scenery or to join the festivities of Bryant’s Asia Tour.  Instead, I’m here to meet 2 other personalities in Taiwan this weekend Hiroshi Fujiwara and Fraser Cooke.

“This question just doesn’t sound right, does it?”…

I whispered out loud. An unintended reply of “Huh?” came to my left from an attendant pouring my third coffee refills.  The question in doubt is inquiring both Hiroshi Fujiwara and Fraser Cooke their definitions of what is an “influencer”.  Luckily, the localized traffic jam gave me time to appraise it.  Most of us have titles as a mean for identification. Some, like doctors and professor, earned those titles through scholarship and experience.  On rarer occasions, titles are bestowed by third parties, as in the case of both Fujiwara and Cooke and the title “influencers”.  Except, it is inaccurate.  Both gentlemen are more than just industry movers, they are “market makers”.

“So how are they different?”…

Pondering while spinning my pen in on my palm. “Influencers” worked within the perimeters of a market, setting trends based on predetermined standards.  “Market makers”, on the other hand, established new markets with ease.  Breaching against tested trend formulas and creating genres unlike others in the marketplace.  One example is Fujiwara’s Fragment Design.  Despite the current recession, worst than the one hit Japan in the early 90s.  Fragment Design and related products continue sold out in stores.  Even before joining Nike Brand Energy Group, Cooke’s involvement in pairing artists with merchandisers sparked the current trend of collaboration projects.  Similar to mavericks of the old American West, both are exploring new resources for their creativity in various forms as regular magazine columnist, architectural acoustic designer, new materials tester, and more…

“The phone is ringing?”…

My train of thought scrambled.  Apparently, both gentlemen made their way through the maddening crowd.  I looked down at my notepad one last time and crossed out the question on the definition of an “influencer”.  It is obvious, both are more than just that…

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