Tapped by Armani, Designer Hiromichi Ochiai Is Ready for Milan

hiromichi-ochiai

Nearly one month ago, FACETASM’s designer Hiromichi Ochiai was hand picked by Giorgio Armani to introduce his Tokyo-based fashion brand at the Armani Teatro. Today in Milan, he will officially make his debut. A week before showtime, Ochiai admits that an international transition is exactly what he’s been craving—along with a slice of real Italian pizza.

FACETASM changes every season,” says Ochiai. “From the name (itself), we have lots of faces. That’s our concept.”

For a designer like Ochiai, change is always good. On the sixth floor of the Villa Rosa in Shibuya, an emotional charge could be felt in his usually organized studio, yet Ochiai was the picture of calm. As his dedicated team of translators and design assistants put their final touches on his Spring 2016 collection, Ochiai felt confident about making waves far from his home in Sasazuka, Tokyo.

“We went to Paris in January and this time we are doing a fashion show in Milan,” Ochiai adds. “We are starting to go overseas. I am very confident and positive about changing. Before, I was just changing in Japan, but [now] I am challenging [myself] overseas.”

facetasm
Images courtesy of facetasm.jp

Ochiai’s presentation for the fall 2015 collection represented a unique combination of street style and high fashion, and it has been part of the line’s DNA since its founding in 2007. One of the secrets behind FACETASM’s look? A good old BMX bike.

“I always ride my bicycle to see and feel the Tokyo mood. I get fresh air and fresh inspiration by coming in [to the studio] by bicycle and going back on the bicycle to my home in Sasazuka,” Ochiai explains.

(A slideshow of FACETASM at Tokyo Fashion Week 2014)

Armani’s choice has fashion observers everywhere wondering: What did Armani find most intriguing: Ochiai’s blend of high and low? An opportunity for international change? Armani’s support for emerging designers is a rare good deed in the cut-throat world of fashion. For Ochiai, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. As the first Japanese designer to present at the Armani Teatro, he refuses to fear the unknown.

Ochiai at his Shibuya studio
Ochiai at his Shibuya studio

“Giorgio Armani selected us directly. We received [notice] from Japan Fashion Week one month ago so we didn’t have much time. But that was good for me because I could design without thinking too much.” He continues, “I do not know about the difference between Japanese and Italian fashion so I am not afraid to do a collection in Milan. After Comme des Garçons and Undercover, there was no big movement that Japanese brands made in Europe or in New York. I think that Armani wanted to bring that movement and the Tokyo culture to Milan and the people in Europe.”

Increased publicity and international viewership can give a great boost to a designer, and the Armani show may help FACETASM to no longer be seen as just a Japanese brand. Ochiai says that he is ready for the limelight, and the tough criticism that may come with it: “There will be people that don’t like it and people that like it, of course. But I want people to see FACETASM as an original brand, not similar to any other brand.”

—Ren Dungari

Image: Ochiai shows off his line at Tokyo Fashion Week 2014

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