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Surviving over a decade in the fashion world is no small feat. Hiromichi Ochiai’s FACETASM — pronounced facet-asm — has thrived since ‘07 by doubling down on the qualities that made his brand a cult classic to begin with.

In some ways, this has meant being purposely mysterious, in a way that few contemporary brands dare to be. Ochiai prefers to let the garments speak for themselves, though on rare occasions, he defers to equally enigmatic images and moodboards. He often says that his inspiration comes from life and “reality” in Tokyo, seen in the city’s eclectic street culture and remixes of subcultures, silhouettes and symbols.

FACETASM clothes are unisex, an adventurous combination of traditionally “masculine” and “feminine” forms. It’s often hard to tell where one piece of clothing ends and another begins, though each look carries the unmistakable FACETASM identity. In a recent collection, Ochiai offered structured, asymmetrical versions of the classic white T-shirt and jeans, in addition to an artistic rendering of the all-denim “Canadian tuxedo.”

Despite his distance from mainstream fashion and culture, Ochiai has still received significant accolades. He is a graduate of the prestigious Bunka Fashion College and did well as a textile designer before starting his brand. In 2016, FACETASM also became the first Japanese line nominated for an LVMH Prize.

It makes sense that Ochiai stays close to his roots. Here, he talks about his Air Jordan I collaboration, a shoe that has FACETASM’s signature crinkled texture.

How has FACETASM gotten to where it is now?

Making FACETASM an influential brand in the fashion world was something I couldn’t do on my own. It’s why I’m glad to be with my friends in Tokyo.

What influence does your community have on your designs and thinking?

I have a lot of close peers in Tokyo who are aligned with the same direction as me. We all want to showcase strong, new creations that will appeal to people across the world. It’s not something you can accomplish by yourself.

“The Air Jordan I is a design that will continue to exist 100 years from now.”

What was your approach to collaborating with Jordan Brand?

The main thing was to find a way to bring out the principles behind FACETASM and mix them in with Jordan Brand, which has such strong values. In the process, I hoped to birth a new philosophy. The Air Jordan I is a design that will continue to exist 100 years from now, so from a historical perspective, it was really fun but also difficult to imagine how FACETASM could re-interpret this already wonderful design.

Which parts of the design are the most special to you?

It was important to make it look like FACETASM, which is obviously something we’ve spent so much time developing until now. The texture, colors and embroidery are part of this. The most important thing for us was to create something new while respecting the original shoe.

How do you think you will look back at the collaboration?

It was tough! But it was also enjoyable. To be able to work on a project like this is a privilege for a designer. Jordan Brand has already created so much history. I’m looking forward to seeing that continue.

The Air Jordan I Mid SE Fearless FACETASM is available starting November 22 on, SNKRS and at select retailers.

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