Intuition is a path few follow. The unknown nature of it all is often too much to handle. Why trust your gut when there are facts? Why go left when the sign clearly says right?For those who have conviction, the rewards are there, and for Stella Ishii, intuition is a way of life. Co-founder and owner of The News showroom, Stella has curated a space much like she has life—with her gut. Whether it involved moving from her native Japan to Europe, going from an au pair and part-time teacher to working with Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons for 14 years, or carrying individual designers in her space, she has always followed a feeling. Since opening her doors in 2000, Stella has nurtured and supported brands such as Alexander Wang, Band of Outsiders, The Row, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Common Projects. As the former president of Staff International in the U.S., she was also responsible for launching the businesses of Maison Martin Margiela and Vivienne Westwood in the U.S. market. Stella has always opted to remain behind the scenes, allowing those she’s worked with and represented to take center stage. With her in-house brand— 6397, she is no different. Less of a designer and more of a stylist, Stella cites the women she works with as 6397’s primary source of inspiration, women who are both resolute and passionate about their work and vision. Focused on understanding and appreciating the classics, 6397 relies on the continuous dialogue driven by these intuitive women, to create a line that is steadfast in its ethos season after season.
We sat down with Stella to discuss 6397, her relationship with Brendon, their upcoming Noah pop-up, and what makes the 6397 girl ideal for the Noah guy. Interview by Joy Yoon. Photographs by Phil Chang.
The News represents North, East, West and South - and is in keeping with the idea of who we are and what we embody – designers from around the world.
After representing and helping grow the businesses of so many new young brands, I started to think that it would be fun to do my own. We are always advising designers on what works and what doesn’t, what the balance is between what they want and what the market wants, and so having that knowledge, I thought, well, I can apply all that to myself.
I knew of Brendon, but we weren’t friends. I heard through friends that he left Supreme and was going to do his line. I knew he had done Noah in the past, and I was interested to see what he was going to do next, so I figured I’d contact him directly to find out - that was two years ago. He was also looking to open a bricks and mortar store, and he told me about Noah and his concept and philosophy behind it all, which I related to. When he mentioned he was looking for investors, my partner Lasse and I signed up.
Brendon is someone who is very conscious of the environment, and also working as a team. I find that the way he directs his business and moves it along is something exciting and valid for the time we’re living in now, and I feel the same way. He’s not cutting corners to make a product because he’s conscious of price and selling. There’s a lot more integrity in what he’s doing. At the same time, there’s a similarity in that he doesn’t think he’s a designer and that what he’s doing is going to reinvent design. It’s about classics and what he likes. The core of what he does is still that guy, whether it’s the Supreme guy or the Noah guy. He’s a father now, he’s matured, and now it’s more about what do those people want.