#NatureIsKey is the tag driving the vision of SHOHEI: creating dynamic, contemporary collections using eco-conscious materials. At a time consumers are questioning the ethics and of fast fashion, this message has never been more important.
SHOHEI’s new range of Active Shirts blends a classically minimal aesthetic with advanced fabrics, including TENCEL™, which is derived from sustainable wood. The garment offers a “future-facing look for global progressives.” Upon the occasion of the launch, the design brand speaks to Aesthetica about the importance of sustainable fashion in 2020.
A: In 2020, why should we be questioning the way fashion works? Why is it so important that we move towards more sustainable methods of production?
S: If there’s one great thing about 2020, it is that it made us question the world we live in and the system we’ve created. Especially in the fashion industry. We could see the fall of the way fashion traditionally works – as it simply doesn’t. This was already starting to fall apart before 2020, due to changes in customer behaviour and desires. It’s time to make use of more intelligent and sustainable methods to run the fashion business – or any sort of business.
However, recently, it feels that everyone is talking about sustainability – often without having a definition of what sustainability means. It can have thousands of aspects, but customers are left to themselves to decide what it actually means. I like to think that SHOHEI takes the term very seriously and that’s why we call our fashion eco-conscious. Our natural habit is to “think eco” and to have our yearly sustainable goals communicated to our audience in the most transparent way possible. It is crucial for any business to move towards sustainable goals / achievements. The hardest part is to also make these efforts transparent, and to let the customer understand and trust in them.
A: What kinds of eco-conscious materials are Shohei using?
S: SHOHEI is all about the story of materials used. We love to explore textiles, their origin and the way they benefit the wearer’s health or routine. Wearing an artisanal crafted textile can simply make the day special.
We use the Japanese traditional kakishibu dyed material made of persimmon fruit; the chemical-free batik tie dye made in Bali; sustainable ALCANTARA; our blue sign approved tech materials by SCHOELLER; sustainable nature-inspired materials by PYRATES; smart fabrics on our face mask accessories; recycled polyester, organic cotton and bamboo viscose on our jerseys; and the TENCEL fibres on our ACTIVE shirts. We recently featured these in a promo video, as we saw a need for active, healthy materials in shirting. Overall, our materials come from Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Japan. We use only high-quality fabrics.
A: What other steps are you taking to reduce your impact on the environment?
S: One thing is the concept of having ONE COLLECTION. The SHOHEI Essentials is our core collection, which you can mix and match and wear year-round. Most of those items are in stock in small scale, and new styles are available as made-to-order. They come in x3 sized sample versions or will be presented in 3D design, so as to not waste resources on both sides – environmentally and financially. On the made-to-order items, customers can get a more personalised approach.
Our core value is the combination of quality and timeless design – it is those two components that make a fashion product sustainable in the first place to make it last. We work constantly on new sustainability goals as the brand grows. To think eco is our natural habit without promoting too extreme a point of view.
A: Let’s talk about your latest collection – what are the key pieces, and what is unique about them?
S: We could almost say the “latest collection” doesn’t really exist – it is our SHOHEI Essentials collection that keeps growing, in combination with the launch of small capsule collections for our Pop-Up stores or digital. Our signature items are the IRENE SHIRT, IRENE TOP, SAILA MICRO TOP and the MAX TECH SHIRT. Those styles embody our ethos of minimal Japanese inspired fashion using eco- and skin friendly materials.
A: How do your garments combine nature with technology? Why do you choose to take this approach?
S: We have different connection points where you can see the interaction of nature and technology. For example, kakishibu is a natural dye with technical features – it is naturally rain and wind resistant and has antibacterial properties. We also have a blue sign tech fabric which is climate interactive and adapts to body temperature, and a garment that combines a traditional natural material with modern tech. SHOHEI’s vision is to create synergy between nature and innovation.
A: What are you offering in terms of vegan fashion?
S: We have the sustainable ALCANTARA material – a substitute for suede leather. We will launch a small women’s and menswear capsule collection in December 2020 and January 2021 using this. We have new materials in the pipeline, to be launched 2021, which include an eco-friendly / sustainable vegan leather with a shiny optic.
A: What’s next for SHOHEI?
S: So far, we are in the planning stages of our spring pop-up stores in Tokyo. We have confirmed our first pop-up store in collaboration with TRUNK HOTEL on 28 February.
All images courtesy SHOHEI.
Video: Video / Photography: Matthew George Sperzel IG; Models: Keita IG & Beniko IG; Music: Patrick Straub IG; Styling: Kaori Suzuki IG; Make-Up: Moeka Kanehara IG; Videographer Assistant: Aki Kurasaki IG