CIRCLE OF DAYZ Vol.1 Masafumi Watanabe Part 2
In "CIRCLE OF DAYZ ," we take an in-depth look at those who are closely associated with DAYZ as well as other fascinating people. This first interview was with Masafumi WATANABE, the man behind the BEDWIN & THE HEARTBREAKERS brand, who has been leading the street scene in Tokyo. He is the person who created DAYZ. In the second part of the interview, we asked him about the appeal of Tokyo and his expectations for the future of Tokyo's cultural scene.
Shibuya, an area filled with diverse cultural content.
——You were born and raised in Tokyo, so tell us, what is it about Shibuya specifically that makes it so extraordinary?
I’ve been running around Shibuya since I was young, but I didn't really feel so strongly about it I those days. As I grew up and got to know a lot of different places, I came to understand just how amazing Shibuya is. What you think is normal for you, can be surprisingly interesting to others. People who come to visit from the countryside or overseas sometimes know more interesting spots in Tokyo than we do, so we have to be careful not to miss them. It's not so much about where you were born and raised, but more about finding the good qualities of the city that you live in now.
——I'm sure you've been to many cities for business and for pleasure, but what do you think is the unique charm of Shibuya?
To start with, there are many different cultures here. It used to be called sub-culture, but now that Shibuya is filled with all different kinds of culture, I feel that there is no longer any distinction between the main culture and sub-culture. I think the appeal of Shibuya is that it's a "an area filled with diverse cultural content", where anyone and everyone can find what they like, regardless of age or gender.
——I’d have to agree with you on that. When you think about how much content that could be created for DAYZ ARCHIVES with a Tokyo theme, one could do almost anything: fashion, food, music, art, and so much more.
Exactly. In fact, you could do so many things on Miyashita Park alone. Of course, you can go shopping and eating in the downtown area, but there are also places like Yoyogi Park and Saigoyama Park where you can take in some nature, so there are so many possibilities for things to do in Tokyo. Also, I think there are still a lot of underground shops that we haven't explored yet. With DAYZ ARCHIVES, I want to create very local content like Time Out, The Village Voice, Pia, and local newspapers. I'd like to talk to the locals who were born, raised, and have been living in Shibuya for a long time, and not just the people in the fashion industry.
——What spot do you think gives you the most “Shibuya” vibes?
Shibuya is a place that is constantly being updated, so I think a place that feels "Shibuya-like" now, will change drastically in a few years. The intensity of such change is the essence of "Shibuya-ness." I named this site DAYZ ARCHIVES because I want to archive the transitions. It'll be nice if it becomes a resource for people to learn what kind of place Shibuya was when they look back on it five or ten years from now. It's hard to store all that information in physical magazines, but with digital, you can easily store all that data.
——So, if you had to choose a place to represent Shibuya in 2020, where would it be?
I want it to be the DAYZ of Miyashita Park. There was a lot of opposition to the construction of this facility, but how it grows will be the key to the future of Shibuya.
I want to make it so when people think of Tokyo, they think of DAYZ.
——What do you hope to see in this city in the future?
I want to see roots in all sorts of cultures, for everyone to get to know them, and for each of us to dig deep into what we truly enjoy. By doing so, we will be able to really get to the meaning of things. I think it would be great if this kind of movement took place in Tokyo. There are a lot of things in fashion that are rarely seen. That may be a good starting point for young people, but I think it's boring if it ends there. By getting involved with various people through the things you are passionate about, you can understand who you are. I'd also be happy if people who come to DAYZ or watch DAYZ ARCHIVES were to be inspired by my example; to realize that if you have a strong feeling for the things you love, you can create a store or start a website from scratch. And if those people start something new, I think the city of Tokyo will quickly evolve and grow into a happier place.
——We live in an age where anyone can buy anything on the internet directly, but you want people to come to the city because there are interesting places and good shops out there.
That’s right. Online is convenient, of course, and I don't want to force anyone to have to go out. However, I think there are many deeper things that can only be learned and felt through real connections. The span of time between finding out what your favorite celebrity is wearing on social media, buying it online, and actually receiving the item is very short—but I don't want it to end there. I want to live in a world where people can understand the reasoning behind why they chose a certain item, and how wearing it will make them feel more fulfilled. I want people to be able to find something they like and have fun pursuing it. I want people to choose things that are authentic and meaningful to them, and I want them to spend their time and money on those things. We want to offer something that is worthy of that kind of desire.
——So you intend to deliver that kind of feeling through your website?
I think it's a big responsibility. The reason I think you can trust our website is that because I have always been impressed by the information in magazines, I've learned a lot from them. They made me think about a lot of things and gave me a lot of inspiration. I've learned a lot from reading magazines in Japan and abroad, and I've sensed that the editors and designers involved in those magazines pour their blood, sweat, and tears into them. That's why I'd like to create in-depth content for DAYZ ARCHIVES, so that people who read it can feel something from it. I want to take responsibility for the content that people put on our site.
——Lastly, what are your goals for the future as DAYZ?
Due to COVID-19, there aren't many customers from outside Tokyo or overseas right now, so we are striving to work with to the local community first. I think the first thing we should aim for is creating a deep and lasting relationship with Shibuya. Once we've done that, we'll have to think about how we can create a similar relationship with people who come from far away. If we can convey the culture of Tokyo from a unique angle, it will be successful as a business; but if we can't do that, even if it's successful as a business, I wouldn’t be satisfied with it. I want to make it so when people think of Shibuya, they think of DAYZ.
Born in Tokyo in 1971, he started his career as a magazine model. After moving to England, he gained experience with street brands before establishing his own company, DLX. He launched BEDWIN & THE HEARTBREAKERS in 2004, and in 2020, he opened DAYZ—a select shop for brands and sneakers from Tokyo.
Text : Momoka Oba
Photo : Takao Iwasawa