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14th April 2024 EDT FEATURES

Tokyo’s Fashion Wunderkind: Hiromichi Ochiai of FACETASM

The designer venturing into new grounds with a collection of SNKRDUNK-exclusive t-shirts.

Tokyo’s Fashion Wunderkind: Hiromichi Ochiai of FACETASM
Tokyo’s Fashion Wunderkind: Hiromichi Ochiai of FACETASM

Fashion has always been about new trends, new experiences, new things. In streetwear, one minute you are a “culture-defining juggernaut”, the next you are dead. And in the wider high fashion arena, creative directors from the hottest brands switch places every few years in what’s dubbed fashion’s musical chairs, in hopes that a new designer can help invigorate a brand.

And new is what FACETASM is centred around. Founded in 2007 by Bunka Fashion College alumni Hiromichi Ochiai and incorporating the word “facet” into its name, alluding to the many different aspects of the brand, FACETASM has enjoyed a meteoric rise through its assortment of genre-bending garments.

Hiromichi Ochiai FACETASM SNKRDUNK Sneaker ConA typical FACETASM silhouette is layered, asymmetrically-cut and adorned with functional hardware like zippers and belt straps. The outfit looks familiar yet unexpected—often a result of the Japanese fashion label’s masterful layering of well-crafted pieces.

Ochiai grew up in Tokyo, one of the fashion capitals of the world, and worked at a textile company before starting out on his own. He often credits his fashion-obsessed hometown for his style and sensibilities. And it is also from the Japanese city, which uncoincidentally gifted us fashion geniuses like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, and spawned trends like the Harajuku Style, that Ochiai’s free spirit was born.

Last year, FACETASM returned to the Paris runways for the first time since the pandemic for Spring 2023. Ochiai sent out a collection of oversized unisex pieces chock full of FACETASM tropes, which means, surprise—more layering and unexpected detailing.

Hiromichi Ochiai FACETASM SNKRDUNK Sneaker ConBut being the adventurous soul that he is, Ochiai is not content with just showing at fashion week. The designer is also a frequent collaborator with brands from all corners of the world. From Disney to Coca-Cola and even the convenience store chain Family Mart, through numerous partnerships Ochiai has shown us the various facets and possibilities of FACETASM.

Next, Ochiai is bringing FACETASM’s uncompromising brand of ecleticism to Singapore, by way of an exclusive team-up with SNKRDUNK. Debuting four styles of tees at the inaugural Sneaker Con SEA, each designed specifically for the event, it marks the Japanese label’s first steps into the region.

One day to the launch of Sneaker Con, we caught up with Ochiai for a quick chat to find out more about what the collab means to him and what’s next for FACETASM.

FACETASM Hiromichi Ochiai SNKRDUNK Sneaker ConWhat are your thoughts on releasing an exclusive FACETASM collection with SNKRDUNK at Sneaker Con?
It is our first time (collaborating), so I think it is a very good challenge for us to take on. I received the offer from SNKRDUNK with a strong feeling.

You created new t-shirt styles for SNKRDUNK, including ones that are inspired by Singapore’s blue skies and seas. Can you briefly talk about the inspirations behind these designs?
Unfortunately I have never been to Singapore but we tried to incorporate the image that fits the story of Singapore into a design that is unique to us.

Among your past collaborations is the Nike Air Jordan 1 Mid Fearless. How was it like working on them?
I am conscious of creating new value by adding facetasm-like designs to the shoe, without destroying the spirit of the original.

Do you collect sneakers? Do you have a favorite among them?
I own many pairs of Jordans, and I especially like the 4s.

Are there any notable differences between fashion trends in Japan and the rest of the world?
I’m not particularly conscious of it but I think Tokyo is still energetic.

It’s been 16 years since the brand’s debut, has things changed since then?
I’ve gained a lot of experiences, but I try not to forget the initial impulse.

Any future plans?
To keep making clothes that are unique to us.

A special message for SNKRDUNK readers?
We are always creating new clothes to add value. I would be happy if you become interested in FACETASM through this event.

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