Battenwear designer Shinya Hasegawa is an adventurer. His passions for the outdoors, surfing, and travel combined with a long tenure working in New York City’s fashion industry comprise a unique approach to designing contemporary menswear. He has a calm and cool demeanour but an eclectic range of influences and it’s obvious with every successful collection. Let’s hear a little about inspiration and process from the man himself.
What was your initial reason for moving to NYC?
I wanted to study at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York. I’d been working in Tokyo and wanted to get more into the fashion industry. FIT is well known and is located in NYC, where I really wanted to live.
Battenwear is now a well established brand and our customer has gained a deeper understanding of its aesthetic and perspective. Do you feel the need to challenge and expand this viewpoint? If so, how?
I started Battenwear with a strong focus on utility. I wanted each garment and accessory to be something that would be really useful in everyday life. Since the start of the brand, my everyday life has changed a lot (I had kids, I moved from Brooklyn to Topanga, etc). So, I keep changing my concept of what is most useful. For example the Five Pocket Canyon Shirt, which is new for FW18, came about because we don’t really get winters in Southern California but the mornings and evenings in Topanga can be really chilly, especially when we’re hiking in the mountains. So, I wanted a good layer for that. Same with our Batten-Down Vest—since I started to live in California, now I feel like I really get vests. I always thought they were cool looking before but they’re not as much of a useful thing to my perspective in places where there’s real winter.
We imagine that not every idea makes it to production - what’s the process for weeding things out? And, who do you rely on for feedback?
I get a lot of great feedback from customers. People write emails to us letting us know what they like and don’t like about their Battenwear, which is really helpful. Also, the members of our team are a great resource. I take all this info to heart, but ultimately, I also really have to count on my own instinct. I filter through everything and make my decisions that way.
Are there recent experiences in your life that are informing your design decisions?
Same as #2 above! I go back to NYC and our office in the Garment District regularly (at least once a month). Traveling has always been a big influence for Battenwear (because I really like to travel), but this east coast/west coast commute has made my focus on travel ready details even more important to me.
What’s been inspiring you lately?
The contrast between NYC and Topanga has been a great inspiration. In our office in Manhattan, there is a fire engine station down the street, so it’s very loud and also the neighborhood is really really urban. In our office in Topanga, there’s the sound of wind in the trees and frogs. It’s a huge difference and it has been making me really appreciate both nature and city and that is helping me with designs.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I just finished “Almost Transparent Blue” of Ryu Murakami
What music is currently on your playlist?
Stereolab, Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Surfing is a huge inspiration for the brand, where is your favourite surfing location and why?
Malibu beach 1st point. Very popular and very crowded. But a dream place for both beginners and pros. Mecca of American surfing history.
Most of all, what do we have to look forward to for FW18?
The Batten-Down Parka is something I’m really excited about. We’ve been trying to make the perfect (by my standards) down parka in the United States for a while, and we finally found a factory that could make it happen. It has been a dream of mine to have a great down offering as part of Battenwear. That symbolizes to me a true outdoor brand—if they have great down items in their lineup.Shop Battenwear