Here at SNC, we are really enamored by the concepts of thoughtful and functional design. We get even happier when we come across brands that have completely ascertained their raison d’etre. CREEP is a menswear brand currently based in Toronto that fulfills those two criteria. It was originally founded in Japan by Kiyofumi Awai in 1997. his younger brother Hiroshi came along in 2008 and took over as the brand’s creative director. Under his leadership, CREEP has developed into an extremely balanced label that combines Japanese perfectionism and craftsmanship with a heavy dose of vintage Americana workwear. The CREEP legion continues to grow every season, and we caught up with Hiroshi Awai (pictured below) to discuss the brand’s impressive evolution. (Also shown below are looks from the CREEP SS16 collection).
My design sensibility is a combination of Japanese and western aesthetics …
In the last several years, CREEP has developed a loyal following in the men’s fashion industry – why do you think people have developed such an affinity for your designs?
I think maybe it’s because my design sensibility is a combination of Japanese and western aesthetics. And because of my background, I fully understand both Japanese and North American cultures equally. I’m able to create the design that’s the perfect balance of two aesthetics. I think that’s what the fans of my brand like about CREEP.
Where do you source most of your fabrics and where does the manufacturing take place?
I source fabrics from everywhere like China, Japan, India, Italy, Taiwan, etc. I manufacture everything at the factory in China. I have been working with the same factory for over 10 years.
Talk to us about the influence that heritage American workwear has on your collections?
It has a huge influence on my collections. My passion for collecting vintage workwear, military wear, and outdoor wear was the reason why I wanted to start the brand. Also, I am very logical person even when it comes to fashion. So I’m always more fascinated with designs that have specific functionalities and reasons behind them. Every single detail on workwear/military/outdoor garments has specific functionalities and reasons behind them and I try to design everything with that principle.
From season to season, what are some of the basic signature silhouettes we will find in your brand?
I do a basic slim fit chino every season. Our silhouettes are generally relaxed fit, not too slim, but not too boxy.
What are some of your favorite pieces in the upcoming Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 collections?
My favorite pieces from Fall 2015 are the polar fleece cardigan and the polar fleece sweatpants. From Spring 2016, the reversible rain coat and color-block beach shorts.
What kind of man and lifestyle do you envision when you are creating designs for each new collection?
A man with effortless style. People who put more importance in people and nature than products and trends.
Does your brand ever show in any of the Fashion Weeks in NYC/London/Paris etc?
No, I haven’t shown at any of them yet. I think the size of my collections are still too small to do a show. But I would like to get to that level in a few years.
Do you ever participate in any creative/design collaborations with other brands/companies?
I have done a few collaborations in the past. I’ve done a capsule collection with Pointer Brand, and also done a few collaboration pieces with Liberty of London. I try to do collaboration work whenever it feels right.
When it’s time to unwind and refresh your mind, what are the activities you like to do?
Hang out with my kid. I have a 5 year old son and he’s everything to me. We go canoeing, bike ride, play soccer, and go to beaches together.
Lastly, what surprises can we expect from Creep in the near future – is there anything you can share with us?
I am trying to do more accessories such as sunglasses and footwear. I can say that you can expect these things from us near future!
For more information on CREEP, visit their site here
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