Leisure Center’s creators Mason Wu and MuYun Li have created a retail art concept over 2-floors and 20,000-square-feet in Yaletown. Leisure Center has become a prominent space in Vancouver’s social canvas and a growing part of its cultural identity since the launch this past November with an interesting event that celebrated the diversity within the west coast urban lifestyle.
Wu and Li have continuously brought in notable and notorious designers and events to shake up our sometimes complacent west coast city. Local quirky sweethearts Laurence & Chico have hosted an avant-garde trunk show in early 2018, presented in Yang Li/Ve Human Mas/Chine Pharmakon Music Event, designer of bespoke suiting Geoffrey B. Small and haute couturier Andrew Gn.
As the concept grew, the venue added additional lifestyle features such as the cafe and cold-pressed juice, homewares, artwork, and recently the luxury BUBEN&ZŌRWEG motion watch winding cases.
In October, Leisure Center launched the latest collection of Japanese designer Daisuke Nishida with an opening reception ‘Future Nomads – Here to Go: Prisoners of the Human Condition.’
PRE-EVENT INTERVIEW WITH DAISUKE NISHIDA
Nishida’s Grandfather was a tailor, he says through a translator to interviewer Coleman Pete, and his mother practiced traditional ikebana, which is the traditional Japanese art of arranging flowers into graceful and artistic formations. However, to his family’s surprise, Nishida started in the world of sport, first practicing and then instructing wrestling. After this, he became a medical instructor and finally forayed into clothing design without any formal education.
His experience instructing anatomy laid the technical foundation for his career in clothing design, specifically his studies of 16th-century Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius, who is known as the founder of modern anatomy, and published the Fabrica, a collection of drawings on the human form that was regarded as revolutionary at the time.
“My experiences made me think that I couldn’t be a normal fashion designer,” Nishida says, referring to his lack of formal fashion training. “I am trying to present the structure of the human body and how to present it through my clothes.”
Nishida’s emphasis on learning by doing is apparent in his visual art, as with his fashion design. The washi paper used for the to make clothing for his miniature figures is an art form with over 1,000 years of history. His decision to use this medium is too painstaking to be considered experimental.
Alongside several racks of his brand DEVOA’s most recent collection of men’s technical wear are several glass cases holding human figures clothed in his designs and held in dreamlike positions with webs of thin chains. A staff member informs me that these figures are meant to be futuristic forms of the human body, which are slightly disproportionate to suggest the idea that the human body will evolve over time.
In this futuristic timeline, everything comes in black, including an overcoat that seems to melt into a canvas of black washi paper. The clothing for the figurines is made with this traditional Japanese art form, which proves to be one of Nishida’s many specialties. Nishida’s exhibit in Leisure Center follows stops in Berlin, Shanghai, and Kyoto, where each show is designed specifically for the city that hosts it. Leisure Center was selected due to his connection with the owners and Nishida states that even though many retailers sell his clothes, he is confident that only certain retailers would understand his exhibition and want to host it.
His collection and exhibit were well received in Vancouver, where local-based designers like Arc’teryx, Reigning Champ, and Lululemon are known to prioritize function and fit above all else. When asked about style in Vancouver, he agrees that DEVOA has a chance to meld into the city’s tech-focused style. “People in Tokyo try too hard,” he says, grinning. “In Vancouver, people choose to wear comfortable clothes.”
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Communications, publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, and multiple digital lifestyle blogs. She is a content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist in the luxury lifestyle niche. She is a regular content contributor to Retail-Insider and has a vast freelance portfolio including Boulevard English & Chinese editions, Indulge, and Montecristo Magazine. When not attending high-profile events in Vancouver's 'Luxury Zone’ or on assignment abroad, she is honing her plant-based cooking skills and caring for her firstname.lastname@example.org
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