Loopwheeler makes the best fleece items in the world using a slow dedicated focused approach in rural Japan. They are made using vintage loops that typically make only about 9 meters a day. Beautifully slow crafted, the fleece is meant to last a lifetime and age perfectly with the wearer.
Revolver sat down with Suzuki san to understand the elements behind Loopwheeler line.
How did you conceive of the LOOPWHEELER brand?
LOOPWHEELER was founded in 1999.
I had many memories as a child of French Terry fabric sweats. Their pleasant texture was memorizing and after graduating from college, I was convinced that the "the world of loop-wheeled fabric” was an integral part of the Japanese culture and wanted to expand a product based solely on this mateiral.
Working in the yarn industry, I became deeply trenched in the history, skills and craft of fabrics and decided to make the best product using loop wheeled fabric.
Team LOOPWHEELER believes that the sweat made out of loop-wheel has a possibility to be the world’s greatest.
We put so much effort and passion and are proud of for loop-wheel craft men and all the people who engage in LOOPWHEELER production.
This is our style that has never been changed since the foundation of LOOPWHEELER.
What excites you about designing a new collection? Is it fits, stories, fabrics that inspire you most?
It is hard to point out exactly.
Because there is no specific limitation identified in the possibility of the loop wheeled fabric, there are a lot of ways we want and try to do.
Although the basic pattern of the body design is completed, there is still a fine adjustment needed with the characteristics of fabric, design, and trend based on the careful concern about comfortable fitting.
To talk about its printing design and motive of patches, we re-design them based on our feeling towards trend and an expression of message from current topics (not from the point of political view, but sports and interests).
Also we sometimes just make the image simple and pretty while we try to appeal for only a certain type of group of people who knows it.
Although there are varieties of ways to reach design, we always focus on how we can make our customers feel joy to wear our products.
LOOPWHEELER is very well known for its collaborations with NIKE - How did Nike and LOOPWHEELER work together with the LOOPWHEELERphilosophy being about traditional quality and Nike’s about innovation.
The collaboration of Nike×LOOPWHEELER production started in Fall/Winter season in 2008.
The trigger for this collaboration was a one page advertisement about our brand, which appeared in the British magazine “ARENA” in 2001 (LOOPWHEELER was only for international business at that time).
When the advertisement caught one of the NIKE’s staffs’ eyes in the UK where NIKE originally came from, he started thinking about this collaboration when he became in charge of producing position.
In 2006, when he was charged in the position, his though became things.
We received an E-mail from him, and that was the beginning of this collaboration.
(In addition, when he suggested this idea in meeting, he found out thatLOOPWHEELER is also his boss’s favorite brand.)
Even though it is true that NIKE is the brand that mainly focuses on innovation, his department was looking for high quality training wear that is classic and orthodox, and also has a possibility to been used in daily life.
Loop-wheeled fabric creates high level of softness and warmth, and elasticity and absorption, which is not able to do with synthetic fiber.
Back to the basic of sweat shirt, it was developed as American sport wear.
We work on the production as a project that goes to the end of the basic to make the classic quality and comfortable fitting.
- Your retail stores are beautiful, stark, and simple mirror manifestations of the items you produce - could you walk us through you retail strategy , store design etc?
It is important for us to express the sweat shirts, which are casual, but produced gently and carefully in our store designs.
The store has high level of finishing due to the tender tense atmosphere from the fusion of loop-wheel’s movement, its position, products and displaying, and construction and interior, which were created by an interior designer, Masamichi Katayama.
What were some of the challenges with working NIKE - some of the advantages?
Because the size spec is considered in the global standard, it was challenging for our pattern maker to make the pattern that fits to Japanese people well while considering the size NIKE demands.
How do you see your ethos of slow detailed clothing fitting into a fast paced world of fashion?
We believe that there is no need to make loop-wheeled fabric meet with trend and temporary designing.
One of the characteristics of loop-wheeled fabric—the duration of softness will last from several years to a few decades depends on the frequency of wearing and laundry.
We expect our customers are able to feel the quality of loop-wheeled fabric for a long time while wearing it as not only for basic coordinating, but also high quality daily wear.
- What challenges and opportunities do see with LOOPWHEELER in the future? What are you looking forward to most in the coming seasons?
To inherit the loop-wheel culture to the next generation, we would like to expand the world and existence of loop-wheeled fabric not only for Japan, but also world widely through the conformity of fitting.
It is hard because it is not as simple as just initiating business with foreign customers.
We are looking forward to have an opportunity to convey the pure thought of craft man and craftsmanship of LOOPWHEELER to people in the world.
代表 鈴木 諭 が1999年に「LOOPWHEELER」を立ち上げました。