Growing up in Neo-Tokyo as the land of the future - which exists in the consciousness of entire generations who saw Akira, Blade Runner and Mad Max - Tatsuro Horikawa is an artist shrouded in mystery.
Music, art, sound, atmosphere, travel and emotion are the basis of his main inspirations. For him, the greatest of them is music, especially techno and industrial music, a movement that plays an important and essential role in his creative process, notion of madness and sorrow.
His project, JULIUS - focused not only on fashion but also on audiovisual art - continues to evolve as an enveloping and hypnotic song. Its patterns change slowly while its atmosphere remains consistent and unique, being today, the most important gothic brand in Tokyo.
Born in Kyushu - an isolated island in southwestern Japan - in the early 1970s, Horikawa emigrated to Tokyo at an early age, where he quickly grew up to embrace "pop feeling," courtesy of clandestine movements.
In 1996, Horikawa launched his first label, NUKE, a project that would later develop into an impeccable and successful fashion brand. At this point in his life, Horikawa was dressed exclusively in black. In love with both the simplicity and the inherent complexity that color conveys, he began to develop his own style. An ode to mysticism with a palette of dark colors - where black predominates - masterful finishes, leather abundance and exaggerated lengths.
“Black symbolizes the Avant-Garde and has a deeply spiritual and noble meaning for me. I am obsessed with the image of “Black” in Japanese Religion, in Zen. It represents the crazy darkness hidden in the shadows away from the light. It is the total colour of complete and utter grief.”
NUKE was not only a clothing brand, but it was also an artistic movement. Over its six-year lifespan, NUKE has become an incredibly influential entity among the Japanese underground art community.
In 2001, satisfied with what NUKE had provided, Horikawa launched the first iteration of JULIUS, starting as a collaborative art project to present audio/video presentations for collections and art shows, with which Horikawa elevated his clothing to the forefront of Gothic fashion through luxurious materials and careful finishes.
JULIUS quickly attracted attention for its dark, post-apocalyptic designs. After establishing a presence in Japan, the brand expanded abroad and in 2008 showcased a catwalk as part of Paris Fashion Week.
JULIUS expanded beyond Neo-Tokyo to an international audience, and a cult quickly grew following the entire world. However, Horikawa did not let the new success change his design philosophy; instead, he ignored the outside influence, remaining true to his techno-neo-Tokio aesthetics.
Combining meticulous construction with destroyed aesthetics, Horikawa designs are a declaration of perfection. His garments - simply designed with a surprising level of structure and composition - are regularly composed of torn knees, exaggerated internal seams and hanging threads, giving an appearance of brilliantly executed imperfection.
At the same time, this decadence features a clean, minimalist look, inspired by the industrial, which has much to do with the aesthetics of the music scene the designer contemplated in Berlin, an infinite source of inspiration for him.
"Perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things that humans do, I want to see scars, failures, disorders, distortions.
To keep inspiration alive, Horikawa believes it is necessary to be permeated - not influenced - by new trends and artistic forms that keep his vision nurtured and alive. One way to achieve this is through collaborations, something to which the designer attaches great importance and which has led him to work with artists, musicians and record labels to create visceral catwalk experiences and presentations, encompassing numerous art streams that have broadened his creative sources.
Horikawa's distant travels have also been a driving force behind his work. Inherently nomadic, the designer embraces tribes and shamans from all over the world, embodying their emotion and dress in his collections, where he combines different elements that initially may seem extravagant, managing to find a chord between the chaotic and the beautiful.
With twenty years of experience in the fashion industry, Horikawa remains relatively hidden from public view. Rather, the designer emphasizes that his team is as important in the design of JULIUS clothing as he is.
Horikawa is committed to maintaining his vision, unwavering in the face of commercial influence and mainstream. His goal is not only to create "clothing", but rather to create and contribute to a person's entire lifestyle and existence.
As something sacred and profane, Horikawa's world of imagination is worn and broken, chaotic and corrupt and the purity and destruction of his designs result in an exceptional and singular beauty that has crossed - to the joy of fashion - the farthest horizons, becoming an inspiring and powerful soul capable of enveloping and transporting not only the gothic-post-punk fashionistas of black urban clothing styles, but also any lover of neo-conceptual art to unrepeatably magical and ancestral worlds.