Hideo Wakamatsu is a Japanese designer based in Tokyo. He draws on Japanese and French design traditions to create carrying accessories with a unique blend of style, function and value.
As a designer, Hideo is unique in that he actively participates in all stages of the development of his designs from conception to construction and beyond. Hideo's personal touch yields designs that feel well thought out and at the same time include quirky and romantic features that would never emerge from a typical mass-merchandiser's fragmented design and production process.
By taking a hands-on role in production, Hideo ensures that no detail is lost in the translation from conception to reality. This also gives Hideo a firm grasp of the state-of-the-art of production which, in turn, permits him to include production-related innovations (and limitations) at the conceptual stage and bring new designs to his customers more quickly, frequently and in smaller quantities.
Hideo also participates directly in the presentation of his designs to his customers. He launched his brand out of his own small shop in Paris and has since opened many stores in Japan. He continues to devote a large portion of his time to visiting those stores, not as a visiting dignitary, but as a normal employee.
This not only gives Hideo regular firsthand customer feedback, but also keeps his "designer's mind" on the main target -- anticipating what customers actually want and need. Hideo believes that the best designs come from earnest devotion to customers and, to him, this means treating customers as partners, listening well, and continuously innovating with themHideo's style comes from his own unique passions and experience. He believes that a harmonious blend of style function and value is very important and believes that if these elements are properly balanced then a design will evoke an emotional response to its charm. He studiously avoids the marketing-driven (and all-too-common) extremes of normal/gaudy, useless/overbuilt and cheap/costly.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Hideo is the scion of a family business that is Japan's leading maker of "randoseru" traditional Japanese schoolbags. After studying Japanese and French art and literature in university in Japan, Hideo moved to Paris where he spent the next ten years immersing himself in European culture and working with a wide range of bag makers. He then brought this experience back to the family business in Japan, where his brand is headquartered. Hideo now lives in Tokyo, but regularly travels throughout Europe, Asia and North America (he speaks several European and Asian languages) to support his local partners and learn from the places where his designs have spread around the globe.