All the way from Japan, my guest this week is Japanese photographer, Hideyuki Hayashi, and designer/founder of Japanese fashion label WAySTEaD. By upcycling hot air balloons, seatbelts, air bags and plastic bottles into trendy coats, jackets and t – shirts, Hideyuki’s mission is to transform waste all over the world into treasures through fashion design. Hi Hideyuki and welcome 😊
Hello. This is Hideyuki Hayashi, the director of WAySTEaD and photographer from Tokyo, Japan.
What inspired the launch of WAySTEaD?
Firstly I launched my own small web media called TELLERS which represents the mixture of journalism and creativity. But I noticed that it was really tough to make profit out of it and will take quite long time to make it happen. So I decided to run another small business that related to the concept of media as a part of it. Since the concept of the media is something related to social issues and my background is fashion (my first career was as a fashion stylist) so the idea of up-cycling fashion popped up into my mind.
Have you always had an interest in fashion designing or did you have other career plans whilst growing up?
My first career was as a fashion stylist for around 10 years. Then I became a photographer but I kept my passion for fashion by taking fashion photos mainly. But I never imagined that I would be launching my own fashion label at that point.
I’m interested in your brand name – WAySTEaD – why did you specifically pick that name? Were there any other contenders?
The word is a mixture of Wasted and Way and Stead. I really can’t remember the process to deciding the brand name, but I do remember that I didn’t want to make it that clean and beautiful, so I decided to use the word “Waste”. I’m quite an intuitive person and the idea came suddenly and I decided to go with it quickly so I guess there weren’t other contenders.
I love the ideas of upcycling Hot Air Balloons, seatbelts, airbags and plastic bottles into wearable items! How difficult is it to upcycle these products ready to wear as clothing? What processes are involved?
It was absolutely tough to make it happen. There are lots of brands that make bags or shoes and other accessories, but making clothing is completely different. Basically these materials are really hard to be transformed. Sometimes they are stiff and unprintable. And clothing is basically composed of very complicated patterns (especially our brand’s one is crazy). So it was like sewing complicated clothing using leather bag machines. Also, they are not organised in rolls like ordinary fabrics sold in stores so it’s not suitable for mass production and it’s more like the couture process. So, some people might think that the price of our products is not reasonable but actually our cost ratio is higher than ordinary fashion labels.
Do you have a favourite item from your collection?
It is too hard to select which is my favourite, which is like selecting my favourite out of my kids. All of them were really hard to give birth to and I love all of them.
As you are based in Japan, are your items available to purchase overseas?
Yes we are going to be taking pre-orders from international markets on our website soon. I also want to distribute them in retail stores overseas, so am looking for sales agency as well.
You are also a photographer. What or who inspired you to take up photography? What genre of photography do you prefer to indulge in?
I always been fascinated by fashion photography. I especially love producing and being inspired by something unseen. When I was working as a fashion stylist in Dubai, the owner of my rep, who was a photographer, suggested to me to start photography and lent me his camera. At that point I used to be working like creative director rather than stylist, so he thought that it would be better that I utilised my perspective into photography directly.
If you could visit any place in the world to do a photography shoot, where would you go and why?
I don’t have a certain place that I want to visit taking photos at this moment, but I guess I want nature to play a part.
WAySTEaD’s mission is to transform waste all over the world into treasures through fashion design. So, you already have upcycled hot air balloons, seatbelts, airbags and plastic bottles – what other items do you hope to upcycle in the future?
Yes, I think I need to keep finding other wasted materials and creating new products. Now I’m trying to develop new stuff with LAN cables that has been carved out in production and more ideas to come. But the most crucial thing at this point is selling the products that I’ve already produced because inventing new products costs a lot and is time consuming.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I mostly wear vintage or second hand clothing these days. I used to wear only black outfits before, but after I started to tackle this project, I found the joy of wearing colour, logos and graphics.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own)
Not really, currently. I find American vintage stuff on ebay sometimes. I found an amazing Jeff Hamilton stadium jacket with a Mountain Dew logo patch on there recently.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Vintage painter pants which are incredibly wide.
Boots or Shoes?
I used to be pretty much a boots person, but now I’m shoes person for these last few years. Simply because when I moved to Dubai, boots were too hot (I’ve still put on boots sometimes though).
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about WAySTEaD.
Thank you Hideyuki !
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Hideyuki Hayashi