By Raan Parton
Photos by Lindsay Parton
Two years ago we began a partnership with Apolis retail partner, FREAKS in Japan, for a design and job-creation project for victims from the 2011 tsunami in Koriyama-city, Fukushima. The partnership started by designing a small Mens and Womens collection that was grown, sewn and hand dyed by 40+ local people affected by the tsunami. The collection was exclusively available in-store at Apolis: Common Gallery, twenty-five Freaks Store locations throughout Japan, and the remaining items from our Mens & Women's collection are now exclusively available online by downloading the FREE Spring mobile shopping app (iOS & Android)!
With our Spring 2015 collaborative collection being such a success, we were excited to design the new collection. From October 25th to November 1st, we spent eight days in Japan with the FREAKS team. I am so blown away by their forward-thinking culture. Whether I was visiting our manufacturing partner & cotton farm outside of Tokyo, shopping in Shabuia, passing small-scale markets, or grabbing drinks in the airport, what impressed me most was the people. The people I crossed paths with were driven by an innovative spirit and it was so inspiring as we were developing our second collaborative collection with FREAKS. Scroll down to the base of this photostory to review the first collection.
We continue to be inspired from Japan's bustling urban centers and sprawling rural landscapes. I have been through Japan a handful of times, but have spent most of my time only in tourist areas. This trip gave me a chance to take in a diverse range of experiences and really appreciate a culture characterized by incredible work ethic, warm people, and captivating natural beauty.