Part fashion film and part documentary, Nobu is a stylised portrait of a Japanese immigrant

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  • Part fashion film and part documentary, Nobu is a stylised portrait of a Japanese immigrant
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Lisa Konno’s fashion collection Nobu was based on the experience of her father Nobu, who moved from Japan to the Netherlands as a young man. A beautiful collection was designed for a film of the same name made in conjunction with childhood friend Sarah Blok.

Lisa’s motivation to branch out from fashion stemmed from a desire to use the prominence of the industry in a positive way. “I think it would be much more interesting if as a designer I could use this seductive power that fashion has, but instead point to socially-relevant stories,” she tells It’s Nice That. This was when the collaboration with Sarah, who has previous experience as a theatre writer and director, began.

Lisa describes the collection as “a colourful and exaggerated ode to my Dad. It reflects Dutch and Japanese identity, caricaturising cultural misunderstandings and the hype about Japan,” she says. “At the same time, it draws an intimate portrait of my father as an immigrant.”

The film reflects this, but also remains light-hearted and fun, this is due, in part, to the bright aesthetic provided by the clothes, as well as the fun and bubbly character of Lisa’s father.

“Since the collection was built around his cultural identity and story on integration, it was an easy choice to have him model the collection as well! Him walking the runway was a nice way of trying to broaden what and whom the ‘muse’ of a collection could be,” says Lisa. “For once I could dress him up in a giant pink coat that was a nod to the big plastic colourful raincoat he wears on his bike to work every day – the only way in which he has truly become a Dutch man.” The imagery this created is fantastic, with the bright clothes from the collection perfectly juxtaposing a grey Amsterdam day.

The choice of having Nobu as the model was also an intentional deviation from industry norms: “I think Lisa and I are both attracted to beauty that is in touch with life – a more comforting beauty,” says Sarah. “Young thin models that rule the fashion industry are also beautiful, but far from comforting.”

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