RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
TAKA KASUGA OF VEILANCE
First created in 1989 to provide simple solutions to extreme conditions and challenges, climbers Dave Lane and Jeremy Guard established an outdoor company called Arc'teryx out of a basement in Vancouver, Canada. Inspiration for the brand came partly from the Archaeopteryx Lithographica – the fossil linking prehistoric reptiles to modern birds, and the brand's first and only logo. This direct reference to evolution has manifested itself in a continual drive over the course of three decades to perfect and refine outdoor apparel.
Already sitting on the success and notoriety of their mainline, Arc'teryx made a pivot in the industry turning their attention to a special category of tailored outerwear in 2009. Veilance represents apparel specifically marketed to urban city dwellers that was able to reapply mechanics innovated for extreme outdoor conditions. More recently, after a decade of Veilance we sit down with the brand's creative director, Taka Kasuga to discuss the designer's own beginnings in Japan, as well as the design logic and evolution behind their products.
IN PUBLIC OPINION, CHINA HAS BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO A LOWER QUALITY OF PRODUCT; BUT YET THERE SEEMS TO BE A RESURGENCE OF HIGH CRAFTSMANSHIP FROM SELECT CHINESE MANUFACTURERS. WHAT WAS THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS IN MOVING NON GORE-TEX PRODUCTION TO CHINA?
Above all else, it is important that we engineer everything in-house from end to end, and then find the best manufacturing partner that has experience producing these specific types of technical garments, regardless of where they are located. There are few factories in the world who have proven that they can meet our quality expectations, and in these cases our Chinese partners have demonstrated superiority. We focus on skill over country of origin. At the Design Centre, you see both the Veilance and Arc’teryx teams experimenting with new concepts every day. Although we’re designing for different end uses, we share learnings between us which is translating to very innovative technical product from both brands.
WITH THE NEW FAST + LIGHT COLLECTION, YOU SEEM TO BE FURTHER MARRYING BOTH TECHNICAL AND FASHIONABLE ASPECTS TO YOUR VERSATILE CLOTHING. WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS DECISION?
Why can’t one product have multiple end uses, and highly function in all of them? This is the problem that we are solving with FL. Personally, I want to own and carry less, especially while travelling. Fast and Light is designed to transition between high output activity and every day wear, so you can tackle many needs with one outfit. There are so many brands that focus on one very specific end use, and we wanted to bridge this gap.
THERE ARE RUMOURS OF VEILANCE OPENING ITS FIRST STAND-ALONE STORE IN ASIA. TELL US MORE.
We are actually opening our first stand-alone store in Hong Kong later this year.
HAVE YOU, OR VEILANCE, EVER CONSIDERED EVOLVING THE BRAND INTO A WOMEN'S OFFERING?
We have, and are currently working on it.