Interview with Eri Zabeth
UPDATE: EriZabeth Announces her Rouge: First Collection – Fighter. See it here!!
Eri Zabeth is the designer for the Japanese fashion brand “Rouge”. Rouge designs are mainly PVC (polyvinyl chloride) whose materials are attractive to many because they for a tight fitting “second Skin”.
Eri Zabeth established her own brand “Rouge” after working as a freelance designer of clothes in Japan.
She is a young, spirited Japanese designer with two crtically acclaimed, successful fashion shows after her debut as a fashion designer only a half year ago.
She loves PVC fashions. She also models various PVC and sexy clothes of her own brand in many events and parties. She is easily recognizable and captures the attention of fans and the media. Her designed PVC fashions have unique silhouettes and styles that are rarely seen, particularly in Japan.
Her unique styles become the center of public attention and crowds are usually seen surrounding her and her fashions.
“From the begining, I had a wish to start up my own brand and introduce my styles sometime. But I was satisfied with joining some events and parties, wearing my own clothes at first. Shortly after that, I wasn’t gradually satisfied with some kind of a stimulus due to a lack of enthusiastic fans of PVC clothes. At the same time, other people felt like me, I thought. So, I decided to give some inspiration to them.”
This was the start of her project. There are a few brands, maintained by domestic designers, in Japan and there are only a few shops selling clothes designed by foreign designers of fetish fashion. According to her statement, she will open her own online shop on 10th Apr.
Eri, it is a pleasure to meet you. When did you first become interested in fashion design and how did you get started?
I had been interested in fashion design when I entered a vocational college of clothing when I was 19 years of age. About two years ago, I had a strong interest in PVC clothes. I thought that wearing PVC clothes make me conspicuous and its demand would increase, because there’re few designers of PVC clothes in Japan. Therefore, I decided to join many fetish parties and subculture events while wearing my own designed PVC clothes at first, in order to make people remember my name and to make friends too.
Originally did you begin working with materials other than PVC but did not like them? What do you like about working with PVC?
Yes, I don’t like others. It is certainly easy to handle cotton and satin cloth but I love PVC. PVC has no softness and silhouette like cotton but I love the feel and the elasticity of PVC.
How would you describe the style of your brand, Rouge? What is the philosophy behind it?
The style of my Rouge is for sexy, dark and cool ladies. So, I named my own brand, Rouge, after red lips and cool-sexy ladies. This word, Rouge, means “red” or “lips” as you know.
You held a fashion show for Rouge at Warehouse 702 in Azabu-juban, an area famous for it’s events. Can you tell us about the show and the reaction of the crowd?
The models are my acquaintances and, of course, I also appeared on stage at the show. There was a lot of response. Before my fashion show, Pole Dance Performance was presented and the crowd enjoyed the performance very much.
Ah, I remember, some models were asked to take pictures. I strongly believed that I made a huge impact upon the crowd because the crowd included people uninterested in fetish fashion or subculture.
Tell us about some of the individual pieces you are proudest of.
It is the mask which I imagined and made of the goddess Medusa from Greek mythology.
You also designed an outfit based on an egyptian goddess. Can you tell us about that project?
I made this outfit for Department-H, the famous underground party in Tokyo. This is not for business but for advertising and practice. To tell the truth, I’m not satisfied with its finish.
What is the process you go about to take your designs from first concept to completion.
One of my friend said to me that we hardly saw the mask of the association of Egypt, such as Bastet. That’s why I made it. I got inspiration from the characters of heroes, like the Power Rangers.
Where can we see customers wearing your designs?
At subculture events and parties, such as Tokyo Decadance and Department-H.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your designs from?
From foreign fetish fashion designers, costumes of famous singers/artists and music videos and heroes like the Power Rangers.
Are there other designers that you admire and have influenced you?
I was greatly influenced by a catsuit of Norman Richter, fully covered with many studs. As I was just about to decide my own styles of Rouge brand, I felt that this was it at first glance.
What do you like to do for fun, Eri, when you are not designing?
I always enjoy eating delicious dishes and drinking. I also enjoy cosplay at Anime parties.
Where can we find out more information about you and your work?
Translation by Hiro Kondo