"ASICS Tiger VOICE" introduces various people from various genres who wear the ASICS Tiger brand, have fun, and express themselves.
This edition features Motofumi "Poggy" Kogi, the United Arrows& Sons Director gaining attention at home and abroad. He talks freely from his personal childhood memories to the presence of the ASICS Tiger brand from a global perspective.
When did you first encounter the ASICS Tiger brand?
The first time I wore ASICS Tiger brand was when I was in elementary school. At that time, I was beginning to get interested in fashion, and don't you start borrowing stuff from your dad's clothes when you're around that age? I found a pair of ASICS Tiger classic sneakers in my dad's wardrobe so I decided to put them on. That's my first encounter with ASICS Tiger.
I was also on the school's volley ball club. The shoes I wore then had GEL technology in them, too. Those shoes were genuinely for playing sports, so I didn't have the image of them being particularly fashionable, but I clearly remember the color combination of red stripes on the white fabric, and that unique comfortable fit.
Since then as the years moved on, you entered the world of fashion. What triggered your interest towards ASICS Tiger again?
I was starting to become somewhat curious about them 4-5 years ago when I saw shops in the U.S. and Europe buying ASICS Tiger shoes. Then Ronnie Fieg from NY gave me a pair of "Limited Edition" ASICS Tiger shoes as a gift. This experience had a decisive impact. Ronnie's "Limited Edition" model was packed with his distinctive taste like European-inspired color combinations and lots of shoelaces. Also, the way they fit comfortably the moment I put them on linked with my childhood experience and I felt the unique good-natured serious attitude of a Japanese brand.
So you were re-drawn to the ASICS Tiger brand which you always thought were ordinary sports shoes because designers from abroad reverse-imported them to you?
Yes. For instance, the Ivy League Look-based "American Casual" is being praised in the U.S. now. I actually think this trend has an aspect of reverse-importing of the "American Casual" boom in Japan.
This is what ASICS Tiger is for me. When a brand too familiar for the Japanese is valued as "cool" abroad, you come to realize again how stylish they were.
How would you choose your ASICS Tiger shoes?
From my personal preference, I would choose a model with a look that is somewhere between "high-tech" and casual. I like ones that use material like nubuck and suede.
While other brands' sneakers tend to try to become the main star of the look, ASICS Tiger brand shoes are low-key in a good way. They accentuate the entire outfit (rather than standing out.) The mentality is very Japanese, and makes me all the more want to keep multiple pairs in different colors.
Tell us your vision for the ASICS Tiger brand. What kind of brand do you want them to be?
I feel people outside of Japan strongly recognize "ASICS Tiger" as a Japanese brand. I felt this way while I was talking to Ronnie as well. They value Japanese brands to be "cool, carefully crafted and precise."
ASICS Tiger shoes are indeed carefully crafted, from the material they use, the stitching, and even in areas you cannot see. The makers are stubborn, but also strongly determined to make quality products. I hope that they won't lose that serious attitude. I even hope that the ASICS Tiger brand will someday become part of how Japan is perceived from abroad, like "Sushi, Karaoke & ASICS Tiger"
I also think "street fashion" and "mode fashion" are crossing over each other's boundaries more and more in the current fashion scene. Like so, I hope that the ASICS Tiger brand will become a boundary-breaking brand, too.