In support of women's rights, empowerment, and active participation, and to express gratitude to women.
This year, we interviewed Kanae Obuchi, a junior designer at KEEN's Tokyo Design Center (TDC) who designed this special UNEEK. First, we asked about the thoughts behind the design.
“This design is based on the theme of mimosa flowers, with a mimosa flower pattern on the footbed, a one-point mimosa flower on the ankle, and a mimosa image on the cord part in three colors of yellow, white, and beige.
Mimosa is said to be a symbol of love and happiness, and in Italy, it seems that there is a custom of giving mimosa flowers to women on March 8th, International Women's day to express their gratitude. So this time, I wanted to give it to someone important to me, including myself, in the same way that I would give a flower as a gift."
TOKYO DESIGN CENTER, which Obuchi belongs to, was created in 2018 as a base for transmitting designs from Tokyo to the world. Obuchi is mainly in charge of designing kids there. Why did he decide to design for this International Women's Day?
“I myself have always been interested in gender equality. It is well-known that Japan’s gender gap index is by far the lowest among the G7, but I have heard from my friends and others that they feel there is a gender gap. I have always had doubts about stereotyped gender roles, so for International Women's Day, as KEEN, I planned and designed a product that would support women's active participation and freedom. I did.”
Mimosa, the theme of this design, expresses appreciation for women, but other than that, the element of design for women is strongly expressed.
“Even people who have never worn outdoor shoes often say that UNEEK is very comfortable to walk in, and many women have problems with their feet, so I have never heard of KEEN. I would like women who have never worn them to wear them.
" BE KIND TO EVERYONE AND SHOW GRATITUDE TO ALL WOMEN Obuchi says that he has pursued the concept of "easy to wear" and "for women" in this design, but at the root of this is the attitude of aiming for a design that is easy for anyone to wear. .
“Not only this time, but the theme I want to work on is 'hospitality', and I want to create a design that conveys consideration and kindness to all individuals. It's not just about gender and age. For example, I think that products are now generally designed based on healthy people. I wish I could design. Even when designing for kids, we think about designs that don't impose values such as "boys are blue and girls are pink".
"I always want to make products that can be delivered to everyone.”
This attitude was also reflected in the answer to the question, "Who would you like to give to (if you were Obuchi)?"
Obuchi answered, "I'm a mess, but I'm a mother."
Why don't you express your daily gratitude to the woman closest to you (including yourself)?