Not enough can be said about the role Endo has played in shaping the industry starting with his small shop in the residential street of Meguro area. Endo has had a ton of endeavors shaking up the music and streetwear worlds — from his music events THE DEVILOCK NIGHTS, to VISUALL, where Endo and his friends significantly influenced the perception of the street culture through art exhibitions. Over the last two decades, DEVILOCK produced apparels and toys heavily influenced by the culture of the hairstyle itself stood for. We caught up with the talented designer for some insight on his unique style, inspirations, and notable highlights.
Endo, for our viewers not familiar with your work, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is ENDO. I’m 45 years old. I was born in Saitama, Japan. I was managing the brand DEVILOCK until 2012.
2016 marks the 20th year since Devilock was established, could you tell us how you first involved in fashion?
There wasn’t much street fashion 20 years ago at all. But some friends had already begun the brand like A BATHING APE, NEIGHBORHOOD and BOUNTY HUNTER etc.. I think street brand was less common compared to now.
Devilocks is heavily influenced by the punk culture. Where does your infatuation with punk originate from?
Yes, I was HARDCORE Punk singer when I was from 14 years old to 27 years old. I got so inspired by that culture. I started to listen to Punk music bands like THE CLASH, SEX PISTOLS, DAMNED and some other London punk music only.But, after 18 years old, I switched to listen to US music. During the 90’s grunge music like NIRVANA, PEARL JAM, SOUND GARDEN and MADHONEY were some of my favorites. I got my inspirations from Punk and Grunge music. It was my base.
From music you got into this business world and developed a phenomenon. It started from a very small shop on the 5th floor of a building in Ebisu. How did you fund Devilock?
Yes, I started a very small shop in EBISU. Regarding funds, I was saving up cash from when I was 21 years old. I also had a car which I sold when I started the shop.
Who are the key figures in your life, who helped you, inspired you to take the route in life that you took?
My key person was HIKARU from BOUNTY HUNTER. He mentored me with his fashion knowledge and introduced me to other designers.He also inspired me with his taste in punk music.
The skull and bones logo is a prominent aspect of Devilock – what does this symbol mean to you?
I like the band “MISFITS”, and our logo was inspired by their logo with respect
Putting together a collection for the first time is a huge undertaking. What was the biggest difficulty for you when starting out Devilock? What was most enjoyable?
There was nothing serious about it. I see it as something fun. It was a great time doing something with my friends.
You collaborated with some of the influential names in the business including Mastermind Japan, BAPE©, Clot, Medicom Toy, Hennessy and even Sanrio just to name a few. how did these relationships evolve?
Basically, those brands what I collaborated with have been friends of mine for long, and the ideas of projects came up when we had dinner or hanging out. We are good friends, so it’s very easy and fast to proceed with the project once it gets started.
Edison from CLOT and I developed great friendship since he visited Japan for the first time. He made some of his clothing in my office when he first started CLOT. We’ve been friends for a long time and he is considered to be one of my best friends!
If you could pick only four of your designs for your portfolio – which ones would it be. What’s the story to those designs, how did they develop?
I have memories with all the designs so it’s hard for me to pick up four designs, but my most favorite design is “Daimler logo”. I have created this logo with the world famous design team called “SEVENSTARS” at their design studio. It was a really fun process.
How did the “Visuall” project come about? How did your attraction for art begin?
“VISUALL” was produced by the artist in New York mainly, and all of them are good friends of mine. It was a very exciting art exhibition because the art is a part of my life.
Why is there such a decision to feature Devilock on the 20th year? Have you considered to restarting Devilock?
I have decided to complete the DEVILOCK brand 5 years ago. But I didn’t clearly announce it to the fans of DEVILOCK all over the world. I have been regretting it, so finally I decided to restart the brand. And it’s the 20th anniversary of DEVILOCK, so it’s also good timing to restart.
What are your thoughts on Japan’s current fashion scene?
Actually, I don’t really know about the current fashion scene in Japan because I’ve been outside of Japan since I stopped the brand.
In your opinion, what effect does the internet have culturally?
I think it’s good for both of brands and customers. It’s really sad to see people shopping in person at stores are slowly decreasing. But unfortunately, that’s just the way it is.
What is the most positive effect of the web and the most negative for you, personally?
Internet is very important for me, so there is nothing bad about it. But one thing I don’t really like is that so many people believe information only from the internet. Just don’t be misled by wrong information.
What are some of your favorite brands in the world in any industry? Favorite brands in fashion/streetwear right now and why?
CLOT. I totally understand and respect Edison’s attitude toward clothing and fashion.
You’re now involved in “THE WILD ONE” project. People may be unaware that you did a running tour around the U.S. What motivated you to start running?
Yeah, I guess not many people are aware of my solo running project around the U.S. I’ve wanted to start new things in my life after I stopped my brand. I really wanted to have real and great experiences.
What are your five most beloved essentials
My family, My friends, Nature, Good foods, and God.
How important is traveling for your creative inspiration? What are your favorite cities?
Traveling is very important and absolutely necessary for my creative activities. All the people who I met and things what I experienced through my travel are priceless. I will continue to travel in the future. Currently, my favorite city is Portland U.S. Actually, I’m planning to move to Portland, and will start my own new business in this year.
If you sort your iTunes by Most Played, what’s the top 3 tracks?
MISFITS, JOHNNY CASH, and THE CLASH
How do you define “Rare”
For me, maybe it’s something that attracts people.