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Monday, 3 October 2011

Style – The Ipcress Mod File

YVONNE MCKEOWN talks collars and sleeves with SATOSHI ABE, the most fab gear shirt designer in the Shindigverse!



Shindig!: Greetings from Shindig! UK! How is Japan this time of year?

Satoshi Abe: Greetings from Swinging Tokyo! In Japan it is the season we feel cool wind in the evening. It’s the end of summer. Summer in Japan is not a good season to enjoy fashion, because of the high temperature and humidity it's almost subtropical. We only enjoy T-shirt’s and blue jeans. We are happy coming of autumn as a best season of food and enjoying fashion.

SD: Introduce yourself to all the Shindiggers!

SA: I’m Satoshi Abe. The designer and owner of The Ipcress Mod File. Now I manage two ’60s style shirt brands in Tokyo and I have started The Ipcress Lounge. I like a Victorian style pub in front of The Toyyo Skytree in Sumida. I drink Spitfire which is a traditional English pale ale in Tokyo, which has given me inspiration for The Ipcress Spitfire range of sharp dressed shoes as the next challenge.

I have just sold off a 1964 1800s Volvo coupe. It is my dream to own a Triumph Spitfire.

SD: What is the mod scene like in Japan?

SA: I don’t go to there now. I’m very busy and I work at The Ipcress Lounge with cocktail shaker to midnight every weekend, but The Action is scooter mod team that comes to The Ipcress Lounge at weekends. A member of Les Cuppcinno is one of my friends and I like their sound. I invite this band in to my party every time!
I organised some big modparties in Tokyo called The Ipcress Good Guys about five years ago. Three hundred to 500 more mods gathered out of all over the Japan in those days, but I hear it is getting smaller now.

SD: You’ve said you’re going to be starting a blog like your friend Sweet Jane in the near future. It’s an interesting read, particularly the entry on Hapshash & The Coloured Coat and their mind-bending visual creations. Have you tried to incorporate that vibrancy into your own apparel?

SA: Yes, they influenced to my work greatly. Especially Nigel Waymouth’s jacket with the Chrysanthemum flower print by William Morris – it blew my mind! I don’t have the courage to coordinate looks like this gorgeous jacket, but I usually take inspiration from Morris’s artwork into my shirts. I love their style and atmosphere very much.

SD: Speaking of which, you have a brand new collection of ’60s style shirt replicas – and judging by the whispers of excitement around camp, it seems they're going to be flying off the shelves.

SA: The new shirts are the Carnaby Rock Hunter range. They have a sharp pointed B.D.collar and Fraped B.D pocket and the Mr Plonk line is a long pointed rabbit collar and double button. Both designs are made as a one-off or as a very limited edition – just like vintage rarities.
I think that it’s very important to promise quality and I take my work seriously. I am happy if customers notice my work as incomparable to other brands. I have a special attachment and pride and love being
supported by core minority fans!



SD: You mentioned the use of William Morris artworks, but you also use paisley and other flamboyant designs. How do you source the fabrics and patterns?

SA: I use special fabrics selected from all over the world. I like ’60s images and patterns especially collecting fabric like William Morris, Arabethque, paisely and polka dots... The patterns are directly reference to a lot of real vintage mod shirts from Europe but I add my own individual tailoring details into the shirts.

SD: Do you make the shirts yourself? Where and when did you learn your skill?

SA: I used to make a lot of shirts in the past, I learned to make the shirts at Bunka Fashion College, but now I make my shirts with five craftsman in Tokyo. I am mainly performing supply, design, and plan of cloth now. With the craftsman's cooperation the brand is realised.

SD: Who did you use as your key influences?

SA: It’s Mr. Milton Astley from Putney. I met him and his mate in ’94 at The 100 Club in London enjoying The Chords gig and clubbing. I was an art school student and studying about mod fashion. He is a great ’60s vintage collector. He told me about Levi’s, John Smedley, Tonic Suit, Harry Palmer and George Best.

Now he is on Facebook and sends me a lot of pictures about the mod scene in London and is a great reference about real casual mod fashion. Memories of him and his mate don’t fade. He’s a great person. He’ll be surprised when he hears this!

SD: There're lots of celebrities and scene darlings wearing your clobber already – who has been you most notable customer?

SA: It’s Mr. Craig Dishington! He is the deejey of The Eyes Wide Open club in Scotland. He will soon play lots of great records at The Double Sight weekender in Glasgow. At the moment I am just making his new rabbit collar shirt. He’s bought a few of my designs.

SD: If there was one ’60s icon you could make wear your shirts, who would it be?

SA: It’s very difficult question! I want to say David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Geogie Fame, Steve Marriott, Steve Winwood…But if I must choose three people, it would be Ronnie Lane, George Best and Michael Caine.

SD: If anyone is interested in making an order or seeing your creations – where do they go?

SA: If you have a chance to come sightseeing in Japan, please come in The Ipcress Lounge. It is my showroom with Victorian style pub. There are a lot of my shirts and fabrics. And you can also enjoy drinking Spitfire or a lot of cocktails and fish & chips! It is becoming a hot modern nightspot in Tokyo.




And if you live in Europe can access tmy website. If you like my shirts please send an email. I will start an online shopping page soon. Please also check out The Ipcress Mod File Facebook fanpage.
Finally, as you know, although Japan was hit by serious Tsunami and suffering a calamity, it obtains great support and cooperation from every country in the world, and is trying to regain a usual life little by little. Thank you very much for the interview!

SD: If you had to sum up your boutique in three words, what would they be?

SA: Fabulous, Swingin’, Unique.

4 comments:

  1. Some fine shirts there. Brought back memories of The Regal in Kensington Market in the 80's.

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  2. Great interview,really beautiful shirts..the best i've seen in a long time !

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