Far from Tokyo's famous fashion centers like Harajuku and Aoyama, Hender Scheme calls Asakusa home. Leather tanners in Asakusa have long used the Sumida River in the leather tanning process making the district a hub for leather work and cobblers.
Hender Scheme founder Ryo Kashiwazaki considers himself a maker, not a designer, and has studied shoemaking. His training as a cobbler has allowed him to work with traditional artisans to realize his artistic and irreverent vision.
Kashiwazaki found inspiration for the name from his college days studying gender schema theory. He wanted to move beyond gender, so he replaced the "g" with what comes next. Thus, "Hender Scheme."
This decategorization is foundational to his work. Kashiwazaki's most famous collection, the Manual Industrial Products or Homage Line, feels different because it represents an alternative to the four basic categories of footwear: sandals, sneakers, leather shoes, and boots.
Words like "lawyers" and "lawsuits" buzz around the shoes when people first see them signaling their transgressive power. This reaction speaks to their nature as homages, but maybe, too, the reaction recognizes something fundamentally different in Hender Scheme.