I caught up with Masaaki recently about a few things before the end of the year. Some readers may or may not be aware that in Japan people tend to tie off loose ends before the end of the year. Especially since we are planning something big for early next year…
Please enjoy some of the simple beauty of the Tezomeya process, and some newly featured products.
Taizo and his label “NO Shoes” is pretty much unknown outside of Japan. His products are clever and cool. His mens shoes are refined but with each different pair there is a unique character. You can see it in the colors, and the patterns he chooses.
He manages to pull off a few extremely bold pieces too. But within the boldness there is an elegant and intelligent meaning.
Taizo is inspired by music genres and how those music scenes have their own fashion code. He finds inspiration there and plays his own sort of number through his designs.
Bright color with stark white. But I see a balance there, especially if you express yourself through your footwear.
In his designs I see his own mantra being created. It almost feels like his designs are all apart of some living organism. I think his creature (even if it is just his creative mind) is fed weird things the result is his ever-growing collection.
I really admire the endless trial and error, and he manages to make something really beautiful from a simple idea. Whether it be a leather inspired by night-vision goggles or a last-less shoe, he is putting something uniquely beautiful out there.
He has an insatiable appetite for design. These three penny loafers look really similar but each is their own reinterpretation. That balance between refinement and excitement is what really impresses me.
I will be featuring Taizo’s products in an upcoming project I am working on that I will announce in the near future.
NO shoes is the brainchild of talented designer Taizo Saito. I recently took a trip to his production factory here in Osaka for a peek into what goes into his productions.
Taizo is the sole designer and brains of “NO” which means brain in Japanese. The “NO” refers to the deep thinking that goes into each project, “NO” to never rejecting an idea, and “NO” logo. After graduating from an infamous English fashion University he started producing footwear as NO since 2009.
This is the new model from NO shoes. The idea is skin. The rubber coating over the leather will slowly change and tear for every wearer differently. Your own personal style in four flavors.
The women’s line is produced in Osaka in a famous area historically associated with leatherwork.
I felt a bit like a sailor on shore leave walking around in Kojima port wearing these boots. Possibly someone might have done the same ages ago when this boot-shape was a popular look. The leather bottom sole, hard, unforgiving but a feeling of being connected to the earth. The “click-clack” of cold leather on the side walk is something not often heard from mens shoes anymore, as people trade the leather for the comfort of a rubber sole. The lightness and nimbleness of these shoes are perfect for Japan. Especially since changing footwear is necessary in most Japanese interiors. Laces and heft are out of the question.
Wrapped in parchment colored paper I felt like I was receiving a pair of issued Japanese navy uniform boots. Inspired by vintage Edo period style ruggedness, these boots feature canvas uppers and oil leather vamps. A hefty zipper keeps them on your feet.
Lined with leather, the boots have been dipped in a kakishibu brown color, which turned the brown leather into a very rich 黒茶 (Black Tea) color. A melange of browns really. The silhouette is round and the narrow welt really brings a refined vintage look to them.
Depending on how the light hits them, the shadows and highlights change the texture and hues of the browns.