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Founded2001 in Ura-Harajuku
FounderHiroki Nakamura
Key people
Hiroki Nakamura (Creative Director and CEO)
ProductsMen's Apparel

Visvim is a Japanese menswear brand founded by Hiroki Nakamura in Ura-Harajuku in 2001. The brand is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and has stores in Japan and Hong Kong. Visvim is also sold internationally in department stores and boutiques, such as Bergdorf Goodman in New York and Dover Street Market in London.

In addition to the main visvim line, Nakamura designs a womenswear line called WMV, and a conceptual menswear line called F.I.L. Indigo Camping Trailer.[1]


The name “Visvim” does not have any specific meaning. Designer Hiroki Nakamura has said that he liked v-lettered logos, and browsed through the “v” section of a Latin dictionary until he came upon “vis” and “vim.” He liked how the two words looked together.[2]

F.I.L., the name of Visvim’s flagship stores, stands for Free International Laboratory. This stems from Nakamura wanting the stores to be a working laboratory for an international brand.[2]


As a young student, Nakamura’s parents encouraged him to study where there was very little Japanese spoken. At the age of 11, Nakamura met Cody Horne, one of his classmates at the Bunka High School, who was an exchange student from the UK.[relevant? ] Through Horne, Nakamura became interested in foreign cultures. Nakamura chose Alaska, a place he had grown to love on family whale-watching, camping, and snowboarding trips. When he grew older, he started his career at Burton Snowboards in Japan, where he worked as a designer for 8 years.[3] After quitting his job at Burton, Nakamura founded visvim in 2000.[4] Visvim started off as primarily a footwear brand, and later expanded into a full apparel collection.

The brand shows in Tokyo, Paris, and New York.[1] It encompasses seven free-standing stores in Japan and is stocked at 135 retailers internationally.[5]


Visvim footwear and garments are constructed with a mix of traditional production techniques and modern technology. Past inspirations for Visvim products include vintage Americana, Japanese Edo period garments, French workwear, Amish patchwork fabric, Native American clothing, the Alaskan outdoors, and Finnish Sami tribe culture.[4][6] In addition to vintage construction and dyeing techniques, visvim also uses Gore-Tex material for waterproof jackets and replaceable Vibram outsoles.[7]


Visvim produces the FBT, a modern interpretation of the Native American moccasin but with a sneaker outsole. It was inspired by moccasins worn by Terry Hall of British band Fun Boy Three. The Visvim Christo sandal is inspired by the artist duo of the same name, and features a construction that wraps around the foot similar to Christo’s wrapped buildings.[4]

In 2008, Nakamura introduced a new line of footwear called “Folk,” which features mostly leather uppers and no chemical tanning.[8] When the outsoles wear out, they can be replaced with new ones.[2]


Visvim’s denim line is called Social Sculpture. Nakamura developed the denim "from the yarn up" and the process of breaking down the denim and building it back up again gave rise to the image of a sculpture.[9]

Natural dye[edit]

Visvim makes many products using natural dyes. These dyes include natural indigo, Amami Ōshima mud dye, and cochineal.[9] By using natural dye, which is a bacteria and impossible to completely control, the products feature variation and unevenness, a quality that Nakamura describes as wabi-sabi.[10]


Some of shirts, T-shirts, and sweatshirts in the Visvim collection use Sea Island cotton (Gossypium barbadense), an extra long staple cotton.[11]

Notable clients[edit]

Thundercat, RM from BTS , Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Kanye West, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Mos Def, David Duchovny, Schoolboy Q, Drake, KAWS, Robert Ahearn, Edison Chen, and Shawn Yue have worn Visvim.[12] Eric Clapton in particular has stated that he wears nothing but Visvim and MTM Loro Piana.[13]


  1. ^ a b NYFW S/S 2014 Interview with Hiroki Nakamura
  2. ^ a b c Zero 1 Magazine
  3. ^ Visvim by Hiroki Nakamura 2011/01/22
  4. ^ a b c Hiroki Nakamura
  5. ^ Trebay, Guy (2016-07-08). "More Than a Cult Designer: Hiroki Nakamura Goes Big". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  6. ^ In conversation with Hiroki Nakamura of Visvim
  7. ^ Vibram
  8. ^ Kicking it with Hiroki Nakamura New York Times
  9. ^ a b Hiroki Nakamura interview GQ magazine
  10. ^
  11. ^ British Esquire
  12. ^ Karizza Sanchez, Complex A Recent History of Celebrities Wearing Visvim,  October 10, 2013
  13. ^ Zach Baron, How Clown Pants Saved My Life GQ, March 30, 2017

External links[edit]