2023 — 2024

Looking back at an unexpected year

In Wim Wenders’ extraordinary 2023 film Perfect Days the viewer witnesses the life of a Tokio public toilet cleaner portrayed by an excellent Kōji Yakusho. In the entire film the character is questioned only once about his job by his estranged sister. Not with disrespect for the profession, but rather suggesting that in another life his interests were completely elsewhere. But what at that point the viewer knows, but she doesn’t, is that his heavily routined life interweaves those interests with doing his job. Everything the character does is done with the same dedication and respect. His routines offer a pretty effective guideline through the chaos, while in the dedication behind his actions lays the purpose to give it all some meaning. A centered life, clearly rooted in the Japanese tradition. Giving us some new perspectives on what knew all along.

The early mornings of the main character are for tending to his plants after which the drive into the city provides him the perfect circumstances to listen to his cassette tapes with music by Lou Reed, Patti Smith and others. His lunch breaks offer him the perfect arena to take photographs. On weekdays he frequents the same spot to eat. He reads novels in the evening. And in the weekends he does his laundry, finds new $1 classic novels, eats at his special place and has his photographs developed, with only the good ones being archived per month. And all of this is seamlessly combined with his structured daily approach to keeping the public toilets neat and well functioning within the immense ecosystem that is Tokio. Everything in its right place. Nothing is meaningless.

Last year, we expressed a yearning for the unexpected to stay inspired and not completely succumb to what is expected in the market we work in. Considering the fact we were able to cement our human-centric vision for a made-to-measure tailoring brand, travel the world, meet a lot of new people, overcome (most) serious setbacks while still learning about the rules of a game that isn’t completely our way of doing things (and never will be) — it is weird that it still didn’t feel like the exact “unexpected” we hoped for while living it.

With a bit more distance, looking back now, we can only conclude that we pretty much got what we asked for. And even our side projects with artist Mike Dings and photographer Milan van Dril, bringing deceased cowboys and the Dutch hardcore scene of the ‘90s back to life in two printed zines, can’t really be pinned down into one format. Last year had us yearning for others to add to our weirdness. A story like Perfect Days reassures above all that it comes from within. Or at least that’s the safest bet in this life.

So, while we get ready for a year with some major changes that are upon us, we’ll continue to work on our routines of dedicated weirdness in everything we’ll create. Always with the help of our peers and partners (you know who you are, thank you all!). Expect nothing but the best in everything that we do in the coming year. And don’t ask us to do more of the same, no more. There’s plenty of sameness all around, so that shouldn’t be a problem to find elsewhere.

Here are some of our favorite 2023 moments caught by Joachim.

Happy new year!