Japanese fashion brand “Candy Stripper” celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and welcomed Japanese actress Fumi Nikaido to design for the collaboration brand “Fumi Nikaido Roots Candy Stripper”.

Fashion Headline interviewed Candy Stripper’s designer Yoshie Itabashi and Nikaido when they visited Isetan Shinjuku for the pop-up event of Fumi Nikaido Roots Candy Stripper.

Fashion Headline (FH): Why did you choose the word Roots for the collaboration brand name?

Nikaido: For the project, I designed the things that I love, the things that I really want. The designs are inspired from my life in Okinawa, where I grew up. In particular, my memories at the live house Gold Disc Okinawa and how I felt when I first went there. I created a sukajan jacket and denim jumpsuit for men and a classic American dress, back printed T-shirt and denim circle skirt for women. Back in the seventies, when my mom was still a young woman, Okinawa was a mix of local, Japanese and American cultures. To represent those days, I have mixed Japanese design with American styles. The embroidery on the sukajan jacket and the goldfish design adorning the collar of the dress are details representing this overall concept.

FH: With your brand commemorating its 20th anniversary, have you had time to reflect on what is was like when you first started your business?

Itabashi: Yes I have. It’s been 20 years since I started the brand, and I’ve been thinking about how the brand has evolved, as well as what I envision next. I created this year’s collection “Candy Candy Candy” with the image of designing all the things that I love. In creating the collection, I realized that the things I love haven’t changed at all since I was a little girl. I love girly details such as frills and hearts, as well as bunnies and teddy bears. I also like edgy styles.

My images of the ideal female person are incorporated in the brand name, where Candy is the image of a candy wrapper representing clothing and Stripper, representing the taking off of clothes. Candy also symbolizes the different flavors of candy and Stripper, a strong-willed person. The brand concept is “No rule, no genre, no age”. I want wearers of our clothing to enjoy personal styles and not be affected by what other people think they should be wearing at a certain age.

Nikaido: I think this collaboration is also about bringing together Okinawan culture and Harajuku fashion culture.

FH: You’ve rolled up the hems of the denim jumpsuit and styled the look with Christian Louboutin pointed toe heels. Can you tell us more about the choice of your outfit?

Nikaido: Our collection is based on a unisex theme, and the jumpsuit I’m wearing today is fairly masculine. But I make sure to not forget about feminine details such as the shoes or the camisole I wear underneath. Men’s items are usually simple in design so you can transform the overall image depending on how you accessorize. I enjoy playing with men’s clothing and dressing them up to create the perfect look for me. It’s a challenge but also an advantage given to women.

Itabashi: What Fumi just talked about relates to Candy Stripper’s concept as well. Her dedication to this collaboration motivated our team to design the clothes in such a way that they fit perfectly with the images that Fumi had in her mind.