The liaison of art and fashion


The liaison of art and fashion

A meeting with Hiroyuki Murase from Suzusan

Strike a pose - this is the motto of a new festival for art, fashion and style in Düsseldorf. From July 23 to 25, 2021, 15 art galleries will showcase 15 high-profile collaborations between artists and fashion designers. For a sneak preview, we knocked on the door of Hiroyuki Murase, the initiator of the Suzusan label, who has teamed up with artist Ralf Brög for the festival.

On the occasion of Strike a Pose you initiated a collaboration with the Düsseldorf artist Ralf Brög. Howdid you approach his work as a fashion designer?

Ralf Brög showed me his abstract, graphic works, which he is currently exhibiting at Petra Rinck. I then developed the idea of transferring his formal language to textiles by means of the shibori dyeing technique - among other things, to a cashmere blanket woven in Japan, but also to various cashmere sweaters.

What do you mean by shibori?

In professional circles, the shibori technique is called reservation dyeing, and its origins date back to the 8th century in my native Japanese village of Arimatsu. Fabrics are partially covered, tied off, pleated, wrapped, pressed or sewn before dyeing so that the dye does not penetrate everywhere and patterns emerge. Shibori counts about 200 different sub-disciplines, which can also be combined with each other and open up an almost inexhaustible universe of designs.

What will the ceiling look like? Will it be a utilitarian object or more of a work of art?

Analogous to Ralf's designs, the ceiling will show a black oval with white dots. Initially, it will be displayed in the gallery like a work of art - this is a nice opportunity for me to embed my work in an art context.

You yourself studied sculpture and architecture at the Düsseldorf Academy. But then you founded a fashion label. Why?

I had been living in Germany for a few years when my father asked me to accompany him to a fabric fair in the UK in 2006. I actually wanted to become an artist, but when I witnessed how enthusiastically my father's work was received at this fair and in Europe in general, I saw the textiles I had known since childhood with different eyes. My father, who worked with the shibori technique all his life, never asked me himself if I wanted to follow him. Probably he didn't believe that shibori still had a future. No wonder: from originally more than 10,000 craftsmen, only 200 were left in our village - and he was, at almost 60, one of the youngest. After the fair, I had the desire to continue our family tradition. And so, together with my roommate Christian Dietsch, a business economist, I founded Suzusan. 

In Düsseldorf, I can find out what's hot in high fashion in no time at all. All it takes is a short walk along the Kö and I'm in the picture - I don't have to go to Paris for that.

With great success! You have international customers, and big fashion houses want to work with you. Do you miss the art sometimes though? 

Yes. It's true that many people sometimes refer to what we do as art. But for me there is a clear difference. With design I think about the wishes of my customers, with art I have all the freedom. I'm very happy about the development of Suzusan, but I still miss art sometimes.

What makes Düsseldorf the ideal home base for you?

Well, there are a few things. For one thing, many artists, musicians and designers live in Düsseldorf. Then Düsseldorf is a fashion city, which is very beneficial to me. For example, I can find out what's hot in high fashion in no time at all. All it takes is a short walk along the Kö. I drop by Prada, Jil Sander and Hermès and am in the know - I don't have to go to Paris for that. Third, Düsseldorf is a relaxed city where I do almost everything by bike. And another argument for living here: the Japanese food I get here. And I'm not just talking about the restaurants, but also the wide range of ingredients that my wife and I buy to cook ourselves.

We are, of course, eager to hear where Japanese cuisine is most authentic. Would you tell us where you go to eat?

Nagomi on Bismarckstraße has fantastic sushi, but also a very good selection beyond that. Soba-An on Klosterstraße is where I like to eat noodle soups. Also great and a bit off 'Little Tokyo' are Dontak on Behrenstraße in Flingern and Rika on Grafenberger Allee. Both are definitely worth the detour from the city center!

Photos: © Robin Hartschen/THE VILLAGE

Hiroyuki Murase and his store can be found at Ronsdorfer Straße 77a in Flingern. And if you want to visit him during the Strike a Pose Festival, you can find more information here.

Strike a Pose Festival will be held in 2023 from 02 to 04 June.

Want to stay up to date with what's going on in Düsseldorf? Then subscribe to our newsletter!