They say music is a form of communication that all languages can understand, and I’d imagine the same is true about fashion, especially after considering brands like SHOOP (a Madrid/Tokyo-based label, slash international community of music). Named after the 1994 song by Salt-N-Pepa, Miriam Sanz founded the unisex brand in 2011, and shortly after, was joined by Yohei Oki. From the beginning, the two have immersed their brand in the music industry, collaborating with DJs like Broken Haze and broadcasting their mixes on Block.fm, a Japanese dance music radio station.
Though the duo relies heavily on hip-hop and RnB as their major influences, they turned to jazz for their Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The genre’s tendency to improvise became the key theme, and so they played with symmetry and asymmetry, traditional and contemporary pieces, dark and light. This juxtaposition is exemplified by tees combining classical composers with rap motifs or an apron-like Japanese garment together with thick-soled sneakers. Carefully paired, these contrasts seamlessly blend into outfits that feel fluid and energetic. Exposed zippers and key rings maintain a consistent, urban beat throughout the collection.
The designers are keen on honing their sound, both musically and sartorially; so we talked to Sanz and Oki about their present and future plans:
Emily: How do your personal styles differ from each other?
Miriam and Yohei: “Miriam loves simple and clean designs, but she brings bold ideas. Yohei is very much a perfectionist, and he likes to convey messages or surrealist ideas. We both love little details on basic garments that provide identity to the brand, and we have similar tastes. Each [of us] brings [our own] ideas, and we develop them together most times.”
E: Being based in Tokyo and Madrid, does the brand reflect a more Japanese or Spanish street style?
M&Y: “We think our brand reflects a global street style. Our inspiration is el barrio [neighborhood] a lot of times. Japanese street style inspires us too, especially the style of elderly Japanese people. Many [of them] wear garments with curious details, and they combine sportiness, elegance and function well.”
E: Can you tell me more about the jimbei and harakake garments in your SS17 collection?
M&Y: “Jimbei and Harakake are Japanese traditional garments, specifically for male workers and artisans. Jimbei is like a kimono made with cotton and actually used in the summer. Harakake is like an apron used to keep warm on the chest because traditional Japanese clothes have open necklines. Both items are functional garments, and we love them.”
E: I noticed there are less patterns, besides stripes, in this collection compared to past ones. Was that intentional?
M&Y: “We like more solid colors lately, but we really like the striped clothes, and they are some of our favorite pieces in the collection.”
E: I think my favorites are the rap T-shirts with Beethoven and Mozart. What inspired you to combine the two music genres?
Y: “I thought it would be so funny if Beethoven or Mozart were rappers and they had [their] own merchandising items.”
E: From the name of the brand to its collaboration with different artists, music obviously has a big influence on the clothes. What came first, a passion for fashion or music?
M&Y: “We grew up with hip-hop culture, and we are music lovers, so we can´t separate music and fashion. We think both things are very close culturally.”
Y: “I´m a track maker under the name YYIOY and I DJ too, so both things inspire me mutually to create.”
E: Speaking of music, I read you designed some custom pieces for Drake. What was that like?
M&Y: “Drake´s stylist sent us an email requesting our clothes for a fashion editorial with him. He loved our clothes, and he requested us to make mesh sweatpants in more colors for his show in OVO Fest. We sent him three colors, and finally Drake chose our white mesh sweatpants, and we were so excited to see him with our clothes on Instagram!”
E: Who would be the dream collaboration?
M&Y: “We would like to collaborate with classic sport and street brands like Nike, Adidas Originals, The North Face, Stussy, etc.”
E: How have your designs/collections evolved over the years?
M&Y: “We are making complete collections increasingly, and we would like to increase women’s garments for future seasons. We are thinking about adding leather clothes and accessories.”