Simon van Wijk

20, Tokyo, Hypebeast contributor, photographer, model and upcoming designer.

Since I was a kid Tokyo was number 1 on my list of ‘where do I want to go for the holidays’. This summer I finally managed to go to the city of my dreams. Before I left a friend of mine told me to hook up with Simon when I arrive in Tokyo, so I did. Simon showed me the best parts of town for a few days. I was impressed by the way this blonde Japanese talking kid managed to live his life in a city on the other side of the globe, at such young age. This interview took place’ in Yoyogi Park behind Harajuku station. Meet Simon.

Dhani: What is the real reason that you are here?
Simon: In the Netherlands I’m doing an education for Business Management in Asia. I had the chance to do a part of the education in Japan so I took it. I wanted to see Japan with my own eyes and see what other possibilities I could have here. Tokyo is a city with many people with many good ideas and this is where I see opportunities for myself. I have a thing for fashion. I’ve been here for four months now and did so many cool things in that scene already. For the upcoming time I will try to set foot in this scene.

Yoyogi park by Simon van Wijk.

Dhani: Sounds good. When did you became interested in Japan?
Simon: It started when I was 9. I did Kendo and Judo for many years and learned a lot about the Japanese culture. When I got older I got in touch with the fashion/street scene in Rotterdam. I thought it was great but wanted to explore bigger fashionscenes so Tokyo was the next step for me. My expectations were right. In my eyes Tokyo fashion is unique and a lot of the times better than in Europe. The way they work on ‘details’ is great. And I also think that in Japan you have one of the most originals brands.

X-Large by Simon van Wijk.

Dhani: What inspires you the most about Tokyo?
Simon: It’s not especially the place itself but more the diversity of people and the way they express themselves. They are so respectful and polite. They live with such a certain harmony, therefore they manage to express themselves in the way they dress quite well. I think that nowhere else in the world people can express themselves more than here. I think that’s because everybody respects each other and nothing is too weird.
Photo for Hypebeast by Simon van Wijk.

Dhani: You are a contributor for Hypebeast now…
Simon: Yes I’ve been shooting fashion pictures of people in the streets of Tokyo for Hypebeast for a few months now and since a short period of time I also do shop visits to spot interesting things for the site. and therefore I can meet the most influential people in the fashion/street scene. If everything goes well you guys will here much more from me.

Streetsnaps for Hypebeast by Simon van Wijk.

Dhani: Besides being a photographer/ contributor you started modeling as well. How did that happen?
Simon: I just rolled into it I guess. I was walking on the street were I was approached by GQ magazine Japan. After the photoshoot one of my favorite brands, Neighborhood wanted me to be a model for their winter catalogue, which made me happy of course. I got signed by a modeling agency and now I do a lot of modeling work because of this. I do like the job but It’s not my real ambition. Through modeling I get in touch with many interesting people and that was one of my goals. Besides that I need that job cause Japan is a very expensive country to live in, haha.

Dhani: Your plan was to stay here for one year. What are you going to do after that?
Simon: I hope to stay here a bit longer actually. A few weeks ago I met the founder and director of a Japanese fashion brand called Suspereal. I became model for this brand and now he asked me if I can help him with designing clothing for the next season. Although I don’t have experience with designing that much I do have some great ideas that he wants to work on. Also I do a little project like organizing a club event in Tokyo in October. Stay tuned…

Simon’s Flickr stream.

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