Here is an interview of Eugene Kan, managing editor of Hypebeast, I wrote back in 2008.
It's been 6 years already and a lot happened in between.
Hypebeast is now the most influential fashion blog out there. Time flies.
What is your best memory of 2008 ?
I think all-in-all, 2008 was a decent year for me and I've matured more this year at the tender age of 24 then in apast years. I had a friend Andy put me on this Steve Jobs speech which talked extensively about “connecting the dots”... I mean at any given time you don't know what implications a certain event in your life will have until further down the line. Maybe some shit that went down in 2008 will be a blessing in disguise down the road? If I have to pinpoint my best memories,a big one would be the number of good relationships I've had the opportunity to develop this year and a recent trip to Japan. Having the chance to go to MAGIC in February and Beijing for Nike's Olympics launch, it was great meeting many people you correspond to on the daily but have never put a face or voice to an email. More often then not having one solid meeting with somebody regardless of how short/long seems to be enough to form a solid foundation that usually continues on in the Internet world as usual. At the end of November I went to Tokyo for a few days and unlike previous trips it provided a real eye opener and a true submersion into a culture that has become a catalyst and integral part of many facets of culture.
What disappointed you the most in 2008 ?
Ironic question... for much of 2008 I was hating like crazy... Towards the end of 2008 I've became more accepting of a lot more shit. I mean I'm sure and I know Hypebeast gets hated on but if you are passionate about what you do fuck it, that should be good enough. But biggest disappointment is definitely the difficulty in working with big brands and the fact some people still don't understand that given the fact the Internet doesn't allow for the same personable level as seeing things in the flesh, presentation should become a big focus which not everybody seems to enough focus on.
Which brand had the best creative direction in your opinion ?
The brand that consistently had me saying wow was Deluxe out of Tokyo. Despite the relatively simple aesthetics, the detailing is awesome. Without seemingly done in a contrived manner, everything works together and definitely doesn't feel forced.
Your favorite sneakers ?
I've been going with the Visvim Folk FBT Shaman as my pick of 2008. The overall look, quality and what the shoe itself represents was something I felt no other shoe could match. But for a more conventional sneaker choice, I'd go with the Nike Air Max 90 Current. It's no secret the Air Max 90's lasting appeal from a visual standpoint and I felt that creating a shoe utilizing the technology of 18 years later creates a great aesthetics meets function relationship which I think are important elements of good design. I'm also looking forward to the ZX series to continue on from the aZX project... ZX 8000 is one of my new favorites.
Your favorite art show ?
Given my inability to hit-up shows first-hand, Eric Haze's exhibition Full Circle was one that resonated the most with me cause I actually got to check it out. With a list of accomplishments that needs no mentioning, the simplicity of his designs were by no means a lack of thought and concept. It was great to chop it up with him and have him give me insights into his exhibition's direction and themes.
Your favorite gadget or accessory ?
Whenever I look to make any sort of technical purchase like cameras, phones etc, I always check into everything and make sure I read every piece of review literature out there. I really had my eyes set on the Blackberry Bold but delays after delays made me quickly look elsewhere. The Nokia E71 was largely off the radar until some people started mentioning it. It's not like Hypebeast uses any of the Blackberry Enterprise set-ups so I had no need to go the BB route. E71 has been great in every aspect, nice and slim as well as having an awesome keyboard. I actually bought a pre-Hong Kong release version of the phone at a slight premium only to lose it within two weeks when I was drunk haha. I held out on buying a new one until I signed a contact but the phone is definitely good enough to buy twice.
The most surprising collaboration ?
I think having seen so much shit all the time, nothing really phases you. In fact I guess a partnership which illicits surprise is in itself a success. I would say that Bape x Tempur on the pillows with the NASA memory foam were pretty crazy
Do you think that 2008 has been a good year for us (our little world) ? Do you think that people are going in the right direction ?
With the hardships so many people are going through I think there is always a silver lining with my new non-negative/non-hater attitude haha. Hopefully people will derive many valuable lessons from this year which I think has forced things to grow-up/mature/change their habits extremely quickly. The obvious election of Barack Obama has global ramifications... we've all seen what's happened around the world in a chain reaction from what happened in the US housing market. I think it's an extremely difficult question to answer whether I think the world is going into the right direction, although the speed in which people have adopted green attitudes has been astounding yet on the flipside we have some awakening giants who are going through a phase of excess that many Western countries went through a few decades ago. I'm in no position to say whether countries like China and India are entitled to these new found luxuries but when you have this growing segment that will put a certain strain on ressources to achieve what has now shifted to the “Chinese Dream”, there arises a new series of problems... yeh I didn't really answer this question haha.
What do you expect from year 2009 ? What are your plans for 2009 ?
That's something I don't know and don't really want to speculate too much on haha. I think obviously 2008 created a bit of a crossroads for so many things. Where OTHER people will go, I don't know. For myself, I want to hopefully put out some cool shit with Hypebeast, doing something a bit more credible and respectable then just talk about t-shirt after t-shirt, sneaker after sneaker. Look to do things that really enhance our culture via new dialog and thoughts. I think with a new focus towards features and hopefully less towards blog posts which frankly are a bit inconsequential given the fact that the HB blog moves so quickly, we can put together a better package. Yeh nice-looking products are cool, but the conceptual aspects behind design for that dope shit makes things come full circle.
If you must remember only one thing, what would it be ?
Keep it fuggin' real.