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Interview with DAIKI SUZUKI – The reopening of NEPENTHES NEW YORK

 -Please let us know what made you determine to refurbish NEPENTHES NEW YORK.
D: It was because the store’s lease contract expired in November last year. To be honest, I was thinking to move it to Long Island at the same time as the refurbishment, because our office has been located there for about three years. Although I had actually been looking for a place there since around last summer, my original plan was ditched at the last moment when I found that a place next to our store suddenly became vacant (laugh). So, I decided to renew the contract and also lease the neighboring space to expand the store.
- How much larger is your new store compared to the older one?
D: The neighboring space was exactly same in size and design as our old store, including the mezzanine story. So, the new premises are just twice as large as the previous one as we got rid of the walls between the spaces.

    - Did you have any exact plans or concepts for the interior?
    D: I wanted to make it as simple as possible. It’s not just because I like such interior designs, but also to easily match with our clothes that come in different colors and designs every season. Just like art galleries, the interior of our store should be solid to highlight clothes.

      - Clothes are always number one on the priority list of your store.
      D: Yes. That’s why I chose simple furniture for our store. On the other hand, I put so much effort on the store’s lighting, because it affects how our clothes look. We use industrial LED lights, and I cared especially about the color. Though there are color options from warm orange to pale blue, all the lights in our store have a slightly higher whiteness level. For that, I again referred to art galleries for their lighting systems.

        - Does your store now carry more items because the store space was expanded?
        D: There are 1.5 times more hanging racks in our new store. So, we do offer more products, but you may feel that the store looks more spacious than before. That’s actually what I had wanted to do for a long time. When I started the store ten years ago, both ENGINEERED GARMENTS and NEEDLES didn’t make so many clothes each season. But the number of items that the brands design for a collection has been increasing over the years. After the launch of AiE in 2017, it became impossible for us to carry all the clothes we design. But now we have enough space to showcase every NEPENTHES brand.

          - Do you offer any selected items from other brands, too?
          D: Regarding clothes, we carry ones made by NEPENTHES brands only. But there are accessories from other brands in our store, such as bags and belts. And shoes are what we especially focus on. Our mezzanine is almost filled with footwear. I think we carry more shoes than ordinary shoe stores (laugh). And few stores in New York offer a selection of shoes like us, so I’d like to take advantage of such a characteristic feature of our store.

            - In November, you released SUICOKE boots made exclusively for NEPENTHES and ALDEN shoes designed in collaboration with ENGINEERED GARMENTS right after the reopening. Also, I’d like to know whether you will continue to hold art exhibitions and artists’ pop-up shops at NEPENTHES NEW YORK, because you have irregularly held various art events since the initial launch of your store in 2010.
            D: We will continue to hold art events in the future. Just now, we are having an exhibition of photography by a photographer named Nigel HoSang. At our old store, you had to look art pieces on the wall up close because of a space shortage. But now we have a larger space that allows you to take an adequate distance from each piece. That’s what I’m personally excited about.

            - In recent years, more and more apparel firms go online delivering their services. But you decided to double your store space instead of just doing a refurbishment. Did you have no hesitation about it?
            D: Who could imagine that the world would face such a critical situation (wry smile)? But I thought our store expansion plan still could stand a chance of success because our store is well accepted in New York after ten years of operation. I was also thinking to lease the neighboring space if it became vacant anyway. If I run a store, it should be spacious enough to showcase all the clothes we make. If it’s possible, I’m ready to lease a space used by a bike shop next to us to expand our store even more (laugh). But I think they won’t leave there so soon as their business seems to unexpectedly go well after the COVD-19 outbreak (laugh).