Needles' Keizo Shimizu

From The Archive

Interview With Needles Founder Keizo Shimizu

With this series, we look back on some of our favourite moments with the designers and creators behind the labels that make up the Garbstore roster. Here, we spoke to Keizo Shimizu, the founder of Nepenthes and the creative force behind the Needles brand.

Please tell us a little about yourself and the original concept behind the Needles brand? 

 Originally, I worked for an importer, and thought it was harder to find good stuff so decided to make my own original line. I started Nepenthes in 1988 as an import company, and Needles as my own line in 1995, bringing together all my favourite things. The name Needles, comes from “Need Less” – i.e. simplifying the design, boiling it down to the essentials, without the extra design. There are minimum ‘design’ elements, and minimum stitching. 

Needles always seems to have a 70s influence, what do you think about the current ‘trend’ for the 70s? 

 The 70s is always a big influence for me…things are always cyclical, I guess things have now come together again for the ‘70s, but Needles is always more modern than the 70s. The end of the 60s was an important time for me – it’s when I first got into films.  

What are your favourite films? 

 Kramer vs Kramer, Serpico with Al Pacino, West Side Story…All Woody Allen, especially Manhattan and Annie Hall, though these are from the 80s. 

Are there any pieces of advice you’ve received that you often keep in mind while working?  

Not really. I have looked at what other people have done, and it makes it clear to me what I want to do or should be doing.  

Which is your favourite city and why?  

Tokyo. Because I live there. But, also New York and London.  

What do you love about London? 

 London is at the centre for men’s fashion, I’m really into footwear design, and the UK is the birthplace for both shoes and men’s clothing.  

Looking forward, what is next in the pipeline we can get excited about with your brand?  

We are opening a new women’s only Nepenthes store in Osaka.

The newest collection from Needles is available now at Garbstore.