Tell us about your life up until you started working as a model.
I was born in New Zealand but grew up in Osaka, so I probably speak with a slight Osaka accent. I have always loved music since I was very young. I played in bands when I was in elementary school, and I always wanted to work in music one day.
I used to go to an acquaintance’s live music venue to help out with the sound, and when I was there I got asked a few times if I would like to work as a model, which is the reason I decided to come to Tokyo. I came here in 1998 when I was 15 years old, and I started out doing catalogue work.
So you came to Tokyo by yourself when you were 15 years old?
Yeah, and there were times when I felt lonely, but I soon got used to daily life here by myself. I made new friends, and each day was stimulating and felt new for me. I often used to go drinking round this area, and my friends would often come over to my place where we would laugh and joke around. So this town and the house I lived in then are very special places for me.
The first place I lived in was called Yutenji and at the start I didn’t know the area at all, so I kind of gradually discovered it by walking down streets that I had never been down before.
I found a shortcut to the main street, and not long after some people started to recognize me and say hello when they saw me. I walked down it when I went to work, when I went out, when I just wanted to get some fresh air, and when I wanted to clear my head.
When I was with my friends I used to tell them we were a neighborhood patrol! I really liked walking around this area.
Searching for his own path
As well as your modeling work, you’ve taken on many other challenges too.
Modeling was my job, but since I was young I have always painted pictures and been in bands, and there were many things that I wanted to do.
When I was in elementary school, I used to go to painting classes that my relatives and grandmother attended, and after that I’ve always enjoyed doing the kind of paintings I want to do.
Musically, I was influenced by my father’s drum playing, and as far back as I can remember I was always playing the guitar or bass. I suppose I do like challenges… and I like expressing myself so I naturally gravitated in that direction for my career.
What made you decide to launch your own brand?
Just like when I started modeling, someone I knew just asked me if I wanted to make clothes. I like fashion and I was interested in design, so I decided that I would like to give making clothes a serious go. I stopped modeling for a while, and got involved in creating clothes. I haven’t done any modeling work for about six years now.
After that I launched the HAGAN fashion brand, which uses the concept of a “journey” as its running theme.
How come you decided to use your own family name for the brand name?
Since I wanted to express myself and try and give a physical form to something from within myself, I decided to use my name as the brand name.
I’ve moved the company to Osaka, and am working hard on growing HAGAN [GARMENT] POETS, which is a kind of refined version of Hagan.
I don’t like getting stuck on some rigid concept, I just want to do my own thing with each individual item of clothing and interior fabric, and make it into what I feel is an excellent product.
So you’re based in Osaka now, but how do you feel about this place now after all these years?
Compared to 15 years ago I feel that it has become a lot more fashionable and happening.
There are tall buildings over there and the look of the place has completely changed compared to what it used to be like. But there are still people who say hello to me when I walk down this street, and there are also people who I myself recognize and say hello to.
The dog you can see over there has always been here, and things like that bring back old memories of the part of my life I spent here.
Interview : November 2013
I intuitively chose these glasses from the first impression they made. I don’t have bad eyes, so I just wear glasses as fashion accessories.
I am currently into round glasses, and I really liked the design and colour of these ones from the John Dillinger lineup.
BRAND: John Dillinger P/No.: OB1011
PRICE: €178 COLOUR: C2 Havana