Shosuke Ishizu

“I hate looking back to the past.”
This is a quote from our guest this time, Shosuke Ishizu. People who recognize the name may have been a little wild in their youth.
That’s right, Shosuke Ishizu was a leading figure of the Ivy (League) Look in the 1960s and is the son of Kensuke Ishizu, the founder of VAN.

“What I meant earlier is not that I am denying the past. I just mean that we are beings that are alive right now and that are progressing towards the future. If that is the case, I believe that we should use the past precisely to charge ahead to the future.”

“It’s boring just remembering things that you have done and things that you already know, isn’t it?” (Laughs)

Speaking powerfully and staring straight ahead, Mr. Ishizu has an informal, soft demeanor. Catching a glimpse of his attitude of always moving forwards in life, we became even more interested in Mr. Ishizu’s past.

“Let’s talk about the past to learn about the here and now,” says Mr. Ishizu, smiling as he beings to talk about things that happened in his childhood.

“I have a laissez-faire attitude and I try everything by myself. That was what my childhood was like.”
It’s quite surprising really. Particularly because we imagined that he was influenced by his father and was brought up in a creative environment rather like a thoroughbred surrounded by the latest fashion.

“The wilder the child, the more interesting the adult.”

As a boy, he was totally absorbed in the dangerous game of darting between buildings and clambering up to the roofs. We can’t help but feel Mr. Ishizu’s roots when he grins impishly from time to time.

Shosuke Ishizu is a strong-willed man who is both unique and smart; his beliefs are more than likely backed up by a vast range of experiences.

That’s right. Wild generally means bad or delinquent but here it goes beyond that and we were reminded that it can also refer to a rational life’s work.

“The strength to discover new things. This is what seductive means.”

The feelings that we experience when we think that something looks like fun and the desire to stand out in comparison to others - wild and seductive are two keywords that describe Mr. Ishizu well.
Both of these in combination are the driving force behind continuing to move forward.

“The desire to express oneself differently from others is the core of being seductive.”

“Seduction is a game. It’s usually taken as a game. You want to stand out and you want to bask in the attention with new things.”

“That looks interesting! That looks like fun! That looks delicious! If something moves you, go for it without hesitation.”

We also get this feeling from what happened to Mr. Ishizu when he was a student working part-time in the editorial department of a magazine company. At that time, the editorial department only had two members of staff; the editor and the manager. Mr. Ishizu was of immense value as a driver just because he had a license. After finishing his job as a driver, he became a full-time member of staff in charge of composition, etc. and, he switched to night classes at the technical school he was attending at the time becoming totally absorbed in this editing work during the day.

“School only teaches us academics. But the people at the Men’s Club were the real deal.”
“It was an environment in which I could challenge myself to do anything and everything. It was a series of new encounters every day.”

Unlike attending a school with no professionals or designers, his work at the magazine company, where manufacturers and apparel designers did their own styling, was a series of experiences. At the time, magazine production was not assembly-line-style so it was an environment in which he could be put in charge of anything from procuring photographs to composing pages and from observing photo shoots to writing. It was a series of one new thing after another every day. This may all have been an extension of the curiosity he enjoyed as a wild youth.

“When you hear the word seductive, you may think of the more slangy term of ‘hitting on someone’. What I mean is the more refined version of seduction.”
This is not hitting on someone in an insincere manner but seriously seducing them. It is not stuffy; rather it is being flexible and having enough leeway to enjoy oneself…. This moves people, they continue to pursue what their instincts desire, in other words, artistic expression. It may be that Shosuke Ishizu-style seduction may be precisely the originality that resides in this repetition.

Mr. Ishizu talks about how much he hated studying at school. However, when he was little, he was good at drawing, to the point where he won first prize in a competition and when he was a senior high school student, he was planning to go on to art school.

“Out of all the different kinds of art, it is art that draws my eyes towards it that particularly captivates my heart.”
“I am a visual person. I see everything.”

“Of course, knowledge and studying to obtain knowledge are important. But visual art activates people’s hearts,” Mr. Ishizu continues. This is also connected to the path that led him naturally to the world of fashion up until now.

“If I can speak without worrying about misunderstandings, stalwarts create civilization and seducers create culture.”

Using the expressions of seduction to communicate feelings of preference and love…. In the end, he may have moved people and accumulated experience and these thoughts have created culture.

Stalwarts create immoveable logic and seducers enjoy flexibility.

In this era in which the world created by the stalwarts through technology and finance is spreading, there are fewer things that seducers can do…. What will seducers be able to achieve in the future?

“It’s because seducers are part of this. They just have to do what they think is best.”
“It is not something for which there is a template.”

Through repeated trial and error, you can find your own seductive style and hone it.

“Some things may be important today but tomorrow other things will be important.”

This way of thinking can be achieved through always having new encounters and experiences. Nevertheless, rather than looking inwardly to what is inside our heads, we should enjoy the journey of encountering new things that come at us every day ? Mr. Ishizu’s seductive style may be a pointer for living in the modern age.

“If clothes or bikes are just objects, they have no value.”
“Culture spreads precisely because we have encounters through objects.”

Mr. Ishizu’s typical viewpoint may be due to his experiences of encounters through fashion. We believe that the OVE concept has culture in common with Mr. Ishizu’s seductive style.

“Neither myself or OVE are dealing with the majority. We are in the same business of seduction.”

You don’t have to purposely think about it to know what is really important. In order to achieve this, it may be an idea to accumulate seductiveness that is felt with the five senses before thinking about it.

Knowledge and academics are highly regarded but there is value in knowing how people feel and how they look at things with respect to culture.

We are moved by things we have enjoyed creating rather than argumentative, troublesome things that we have thought about.

Mr. Ishizu’s way of life is culture itself.
In a rigid era in which rules and restrictions continue to increase, we feel that he has opened himself up to interest with his one body and has shown us an ideal type.

“I always want to be open. And I always want to encounter new things.”

Mr. Ishizu is not taking time out today either; he is continuing to encounter new things.
His antenna is always on without fail. This requires a lot of physical strength.
It is precisely because Mr. Ishizu enjoys this that he is able to create culture.

Somehow, every day is boring.
It might be a good idea to open yourself up to the aspect of seduction that resides in your heart when you feel this way.
Your everyday life may start to change little by little.


Shosuke Ishizu

Born in 1935 in Okayama City. Representative of Ishizu Office. Fashion director. After dropping out of the School of Arts & Letters at Meiji University (Department of Drama), he graduated from Kuwasawa Design School. Following that, he worked in the Men’s Club editorial department at Fujingaho and in 1960 he joined VAN jacket where he was mostly involved in the planning and PR departments. He is one of the writers for the 1965 TAKE IVY photo collection. He was consecutively an executive director of the Men’s Fashion Unity and the Japan Fashion Association and a director of the Nippon Uniform, chairman of the Button Down Club and is the eldest son of Kensuke Ishizu, founder of VAN.


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