502 Japan Jugem interview with Takeya

Brand: Jugem [insta]
Location: Tokyo, Japan
[ 35°41′23″N 139°41′32″E ]
Write up & Photography: Gabriel Redd Hutchinson
With thanks to Iain Grainger & Spaces Agency

JUGEM is a Japanese brand that makes clothes for city living. We connected with Spaces Agency to chat to one upcoming brand a good few years in the making called Jugem. Created by Takeya, who runs the agency Double Eye International as well, the brand makes cool clothes for cool people. It’s not really more complicated than that, other than their attention to detail and thoughtful consideration of products and manufacture. So I guess there is a bit more than just cool clothes but then I suppose that’s the art of running a brand isn’t it? 

Our friend Gabriel, more from him later, took some shots of Takeya and his team around the streets of Tokyo and did a write up of the experience and Takeya and I had an email exchange to discuss the brand and how they go about making it happen.


Some quick questions with Takeya: 

Portrait of Takeya

What is the relationship between Jugem and Double Eye? ⇒ I am the founder of JUGEM and my company name is Double-Eye-International.

Could you describe what Jugem is? ⇒ JUGEM is a city use technical brand that is inspired by images from city, outdoor & travel.

What did you learn from running double eye about making clothes? ⇒ We learned how to produce many kinds of garments and how the customers want us to do as an original equipment manufacturer.

What are the inspirations for Jugem? ⇒ The most focused point is the products have to be comfortable and have necessary spec for city use (mot too high spec) and  we focus on the sizing, features such as pockets and the need to use the product as a gear for everyday lifewear.
What is your favourite way to use the Furoshiki? ⇒ 
I use this item as a picnic sheet mainly.

Can you tell us about the type of down you use? ⇒ We use down from Europe - 1000Fill power goose down.

Why is using the right down important to you?  ⇒ 
With the right down we use there are less grams so the jackets will be very light to wear but still has enough warmth too.

What about other fabrics? ⇒ We use mainly nylon and polyester fabrics with technical functionality.

Do you prefer being in the mountain or by the river? ⇒ 
I prefer being by the river.

Could you tell us about the design and manufacture process of Jugem? ⇒ 
We first focus on what kind of function we need when wearing each item and then we make proto samples and wear them ourselves to check if the function will be necessary or not.

Gabriel’s notes:

One thing about Tokyo you learn pretty fast is that nothing is ever on street level. That exclusive shoe shop? Level 6 bro. The highly recommended, tik tok famous nail salon? It’s in the basement of the subway, just left past the escalators. 

Much like that, I found Jugem on level six of a neat and tidy building just outside of Roppongi. It’s a well to do area, full of international embassies and like all of Tokyo, obsessively clean. The Sakura cherry blossom hit yesterday and today is the first day the world has seen the class of 2024. It’s raining but for some reason in Tokyo that seems fitting.  

The lift doors open and I am faced with a simple office entrance with a single phone and near piles of delivery receipts. Through the glass I am spotted by three men who immediately rush to help me in. Bottles of ice cold water are brought to me, people bow. I try to bow the appropriate amount, I probably don’t nail it.  

One of the three men I meet is Takeya. Takeya is the founder of Jugem, a technical clothing brand made for city and travel use. I’m happy. His English is good. He can speak in full sentences which is fair amount more than I can do in Japanese. I can tell you who I am, and that I would like a water please. (Gabriel desu, Mizo kudasai) The other two men speak no English, so they wait for Takeya to interpret everything I say. The delayed laughs to my jokes are appreciated.  

After impressing them with my Duolingo streak, we decide to look through the latest Jugem collection. It becomes clear that fabrics and texture play a key role. The smooth rip stop fabric with seamless joins are a nice touch. The colour palette is dark and thoughtful. A subdued set of blues, purples and stones. They probably have very cool technical names, and they all make me want to touch them. We photograph each piece, we talk about their use cases. It becomes clear I’m getting a lesson in clothing for which I have not done my homework. So I hide behind my camera and listen. 

We decide to put these city clothes to the test. Out we go into the aforementioned rain. Across bridges, through parks, into private car parks, the clothes work. They blend into the surroundings while also clearly being a statement to the world that Jugem is a brand that can and stand out while blending in. They also keep our model dry which is a bonus. Thankfully I have a Takeya holding an umbrella, so I don’t require technical expertise of Jugem. 

We finish our time together in a Lawson. It’s one of the three big Konbini brands here. Takeya knows the staff due to working above them for the last few years. He shows me some of the highlights of Japanese convenience store food, which is as good as most restaurant food in the rest of the world.  

It’s getting dark, so I need to leave. I’ve learnt a lot about Japanese style, how to say something is “tasty” properly in Japanese as a man (It’s not “Oishii” not matter what DuoLingo says) and the fact that I love egg salad sandwiches. 

I join the masses of commuters in their Japanese work uniforms (dark suit, no tie, beige overcoat) walking through a local park beneath the blossom. It feels a bit on the nose, but I play Daft Punk’s “Veridis Quo” and lean into the cliché of a rainy Tokyo evening.