304 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
Visvim was founded by Hiroki Nakamura, a former designer for Burton.
The brand has several locations in Japan and is primarily carried by other stockists in the States.
They produce design forward clothing mixing together traditional Japanese, streetstyle, and Americana aesthetics.
It is artist designed, craftsman made, expensive, and cool.
I asked the person working there if she knew anything about the lining of this Kiyari Jacket.
She replied that it is an original work by the designer.
I asked if she knew anything about the events depicted in the art and she replied that she believes it is historically inspired but wasn’t sure.
Now I’m a little uncomfortable.
The most common source of this sort of art were Native American prisoners of war in the 1870s. With access to paper, via things like ledger books, and time, many of these captives recorded historical events, battles and individual exploits. The drawings were perhaps a little more storytelling than artwork, which adds an extra level to my disappointment that the salesperson didn’t know the story.
It made me wonder if the designer knows the stories.
Appropriation isn’t really a difficult thing to suss out in a strictly American context, with our well established exploitative power dynamics and history, but it becomes a bit more complex when the person doing a “thing” that isn’t their own, isn’t American and doesn’t carry the same baggage.
So I have questions more than I have conclusions or statements.