Fashion should make us feel excited or positive – Ms. Negishi, RON HERMAN Women’s Director takes it seriously, not as a mindless ideal, and work on it with all her strength in order to realize it. As times change and environment surrounding us also changes significantly, what can we do through fashion? We had an interview with Ms. Negishi under the theme of “Environment”.
We hear that Ms. Negishi is a trueborn fashion lover who grew up with fashion from your childhood.
My grandfather I lived with during my childhood was a tailor. So, it was nothing special for me to see there was many textikes in my house and my grandfather was drawing patterns. As my house was in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture, located adjacent to Kiryu City which was famous as a city of textiles, fashion was something very familiar to me. In these circumstances, I found myself absorbed in fashion, and I thought even in my childhood that I would get a job in the fashion industry in the future.
So, you graduated from Bunka Fashion College and worked as shop staff before joining RON HERMAN.
I joined RON HERMAN in 2008. After entering SAZABY LEAGUE, I have engaged in RON HERMAN since its launch.
We see that your grandfather was a tailor, so why didn’t you enter the world of creation?
I have ever engaged in creation a little bit in my career, but I was inadequate for the job. I found that I love “purchase” rather than “creation” (laughter). Maybe I am rather good at curation.
In the course of building your career successfully, you came to work on “environment issues” actively, and you are engaged in various in-house project now. So, first of all, please tell us how this came about.
I only became aware of environmental issues four years ago. I had an opportunity to engage in a fashion-related job sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, where I talked with people in various industries whom I normally could have had few opportunities to interact with. We fell into talk about SDGs and climate change, and I found that how our apparel industry had been putting a burden on environment. Of course, I had had some knowledge about that, but I hadn’t heard until then about the fact that the apparel was the second worst industry among others that caused environmental damage (*according to the survey at that time). I was very shocked about that because I had believed beyond any doubt that fashion could be something entirely positive and make people happy.
It means that the fact had a big impact on you all the more for the dazzling image of fashion, isn’t it?
Yes, that’s right. Personally, and also as RON HERMAN, I had been working in order to not only sell clothes but also make all the people involved in the brand really happy. However, while customers visiting our shops might feel happy, the industry as a frame of our business, on the other hand, might contribute to the destruction of people’s future. I was shocked to realize the fact again. That was a very good opportunity for me.
After learning the fact anew, did you start working on the issues immediately?
No, I could not move into action immediately because I myself really worried about the contradiction between the issues of environmental burden and my desire to deliver happiness to customers. Even so, I could not put on a gloomy face as I had to lead my team as a person in charge. So, I thought I just had to learn the issues first of all through seeking advice from others, receiving webinars, or reading books.
As I obtain knowledge, I began to think of how we should correct our company’s future path, and I became convinced that the current state of our company would be no good. So, I told my thought to President. Just at that time, I found the seminar hosted by Ethical Association, and so asked President and Executive Officers to attend the seminar together with me. They willingly consented to my request, around when we started specific actions.
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