WILDSWANSWILDSWANS scissor case & salon pouch
WILDSWANS" has been attracting the world's small leather goods lovers by producing many hit items such as "TONGUE" and "PALM", the pioneer of mini wallets. The brand was started in 1998 by three brothers, and its greatest feature is the high quality leathers selected from tanneries around the world. The leathers are carefully sewn to be enjoyed for a long time, and their simple but never boring designs with a hint of color will add color to various scenes, both business and casual.
WILDSWANS, which is based on time-consuming and painstaking handcrafting, has created a "serious" scissor case and scissor pouch for hair stylists who pay attention to every detail. Our partner is Kazuya Matsumoto of BACON, a creative group active in the fashion and beauty industry. What kind of chemistry was created between the sensibility of a top creator who freely moves between salon work and studio work, and the top craftsmen in the leather industry?
WILDSWANS Yutaka Yamada
BACON Kazuya Matsumoto (MATSUMOTO KAZUYA)
It is only good for professionals!
How did you start this project in the first place?
Matsumoto: When I was originally working at a salon, I thought there were no good scissor pouches. Not only was there no design that I liked, but there was also nothing that satisfied me in terms of quality. I wanted a scissor pouch that I would be willing to work hard to get. Later, when I became an independent hairstylist and started working at various job sites, I needed a scissor case to carry my scissors, and I looked around for one, but there was nothing really good. The usability is delicate, and I can't find an item that I feel is appropriate for carrying my precious scissors. Even if I go to the trouble of being particular about fashion and what I wear, I can't get excited if my work tools are poor. There are many first-class business tools such as wallets and bags made of beautiful leather, so why not have scissor pouches and cases that are worthy of admiration? That's what Mr. Yamada and I were talking about.
Yamada: When I heard about this, I was surprised that there were no good tools for professionals. But when I looked into it more closely, I found that, aside from my taste in design, in terms of leather quality, I couldn't find any products that I could say "This is good! I couldn't find any products that I could think of. I felt that if there are hairdressers looking for a scissor pouch made of good leather, just like wallets and business card holders, it would be a challenge for a leather brand. We could learn a lot from Mr. Matsumoto's commitment and passion, and when we discussed this with the president, he said, "Although the absolute number may be small, developing professional-use leather items specialized for a specialized industry is a WILDSWANS-like approach. We want to provide first-rate leather items that are suitable for creators who have mastered their field. This is how we started this development.
A craftsman's idea is the best textbook
How long did it take you to actually develop the product?
Matsumoto: I think the project itself was launched just before the pandemic of 2020. Every time the state of emergency was lifted, we would visit the atelier and hold meetings. We learned a lot about leather and made samples with cardboard and handed them to them. It was like a magic trick when Mr. Saka, the factory manager, gave shape to our ideas and wishes. I remember being impressed by the way Mr. Saka, the factory manager, was able to give shape to our ideas and wishes, just like a magic trick. I also remember the peaceful atmosphere of the surrounding area and the walk to the atelier. The soba restaurant nearby was delicious (laughs).
Yamada: We did go there (laughs). That was the start of the project, so it must have taken three whole years. I remember how they examined the strap length, leather thickness, ease of use and expandability, etc., in detail from various angles. When they handed me the paper model, the factory manager also said, "This is a great learning experience. This product is truly a product of the commitment of professionals to each other. This development is a unique project for WILDSWANS as well. It is a project on a scale between custom-made and mass-produced. Custom-made products require a thorough reproduction of the customer's needs, which naturally calls for a certain level of technical skill. On the other hand, in mass production, if you are too particular, the price will skyrocket, and the product will not become a product unless you properly consider the balance between the needs and the product. I learned a lot about this process. From now on, I think it is important to have the attitude to create good products on this kind of scale.
Creators' persistence is endless.
What do you think of the finished product? Please tell us about your points of particularity.
Yamada: My impression is that we have created a good product that brings out the expression of the leather. The leather used is from one of the world's top-class tanneries, so it is a product that is uniquely WILDSWANS. The thick cordovan, which becomes shinier as it is used, is made by the Horween Company. It is characterized by its shine and durability, which are worthy of its nickname "diamond of leather. The bridle leather is full-grain bridle made by "Baker" in England. Since the leather is used to make harnesses, it is durable, and aging is outstanding, so the pleasure of growing the leather is irresistible. Schranken calf with a beautiful grainy texture is made by "Perringer" in Germany. It is characterized by its soft texture, yet firmness and beautiful coloring. And the crocodile is the ultimate material. We use a matte semi-gloss finish to avoid glare, and we thought this would suit the appearance of the pouches and cases well. The supply of the Nile croc used in this project may become scarce in the future due to various reasons. Although it is a top quality leather, it is actually relatively water-resistant among leathers, making it very suitable for salon work.
Matsumoto: I was excited from the first sample, too, and my BACON colleagues and I looked at it with a grin and said, "Wow, you did a good job on this. The point we focused on in terms of functionality was the expandability to accommodate both salon work and studio work. Since the leather is so good, we pursued functionality that would allow a variety of artists to use it for a long time. For example, the pouch has different parts to hold scissors for easy use by both right- and left-handed people. This was Mr. Saka's idea, and I was impressed by its ease of use. Also, it can be used flexibly according to one's style, such as for those who use a lot of scissors, or for those who put in combs or clippers. The strap, which can be adjusted to match the length of your scissors, also doubles as a strap to hold a dakkar or rubber glove when not in use. There are surprisingly few pouches that can be properly lidded, so it is very useful. Even if hair accumulates inside the case, it can be quickly cleaned by opening the bottom flap, and in any case, the case has solved our needs and complaints. The case is also safe and secure, with a structure that prevents the scissors from falling out, and it is also smart enough to store combs and business cards. I think this is an item that will stay with me even as my cutting skills and style change over the course of my career. I am proud to show off my work to other stylists on the job site.
A "someday" longing
It's true that when I take out my tools of the trade from a case like this, I'm sure I'll say, "Oh!
Matsumoto: There is a lot of tension in the field, in a good way, so items like this can be unexpected conversation starters. If you are this particular about your tools, it also has the effect of making people expect more from you at work. I have admired scissors, watches, clothes, and bags owned by my seniors, but I felt that everyone had given up on scissor cases and the like, so I finally found something that I wanted. Hairdressers and hair/make-up artists are in a profession that is as close to fashion as possible, but surprisingly, the only items around us are for professional use, so I feel encouraged when I find products like this. It is similar to the feeling of excitement and a little bit of tension that you feel when you hold a high-end brand in your hands.
Yamada: I am glad to hear you say so. Recently, more and more customers come to me for advice, saying that they want to use good products for a long time, and I get the impression that even relatively young customers in their 20s are seriously looking for something good for themselves. They tend to spend money not only on brands, but also on things they think are good. Many customers use Wildswans wallets because of the after-sales maintenance and other services. Of course, if you bring your new product to WILDSWANS Support & Gallery, our directly managed store in Ginza, we will maintain it well, and I'm sure it will look great after 10 or 20 years of use and care!
Matsumoto: These are items that can grow with your career. I would like to have a scissor case and strap for a single scissors.
Yamada: Good idea! Please come visit our atelier again as we have other leathers to recommend, such as galuchat, calf, and saddle leather.
＜Yutaka Yamada, WILDSWANS,
He has a deep knowledge of not only leather crafts but also leather itself, and even visits tanneries overseas. He has worked in the music industry before, and his hobby is collecting records. Recently, he is also into gardening.
In 2002, after working in a salon in Japan, he moved to England. After working as a freelancer in London on various advertising and editorial jobs, he returned to Japan in 2008. He is currently active in session work, mainly for magazines and media. He launched the unit "BACON" with creators who are usually active in the fashion and beauty industry, and is expected to expand in the future.