6397 - Cover


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.

What is The News?
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.

How did you transition into design and the 6397 brand?
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 had to look at myself and the girls in the office and ask, “What do we wear every day? What are we comfortable in? What do we live?” Pretty much all the girls, 90% of the time, are wearing denim to work or go out. I live in denim, so that had to be a big part of it. You can approach denim in different ways, but I wanted to go at it in a way that kept its authenticity - its look and feel.

The rest of it came from what girls who wear denim, wear in conjunction with it. The tops, the knits, the dresses, every aspect of 6397 evolved from that. I wanted it to be a line that was non-fashion in a way. Something that is good, that isn’t driven by change or by trend - but is about a style that you define and redefine every season. The inspiration is always the same – the modern, working woman.

How did you and Brendon meet?
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. 

What was it about Brendon and the Noah philosophy that interested you, personally?
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.

There’s a real similarity between us. Brendon is a very spontaneous person, and he makes decisions and moves on it very quickly - which is based on years of experience - and at that moment, a lot of things come together very fast, and he acts on it. I also work that way. I’m not good with spreadsheets or 3-5 year plans; I don’t operate that way. A lot of what I did was just the right thing to do. I think Brendon moves his business forward with that same guiding light.

So this light has brought you together?
I guess!
Brendon has always congratulated and supported me on 6397, and we always talk about all aspects of business. He was giving me advice on social media and his intuitive approach to it, and he very kindly offered to help expose 6397 in a bigger way outside of just wholesale situations, and that’s how the pop-up idea came up. 

What makes the 6397 girl perfect for the Noah guy?
She's aware. Not only about one's self or the world, but her community as well. When it comes to style, the 6397 girl follows her intuition, and I think the Noah guy does just that. It's about being real.

You’re creating a collaborative tee for the pop-up…
Yep. When we talked about the collaboration, I was working on our seasonal graphic tee and told Brendon about it. It’s all about iconic names of people and graphically representing the spirit of each person. We have names like Merle for Merle Haggard, Willie for Willie Nelson, Patti for Patti Smith - and he loved it. So for our pop-up, he wanted to stay in the same vein. Brendon came up with two names - Shane for Shane MacGowan from The Pogues and Robert for Robert Smith from The Cure.

Will 6397 be doing a men’s collection anytime soon?
Maybe, who knows? Men wear our stuff all the time, so that could be fun.

The exclusive collaboration t-shirt, along with select styles of 6397’s Spring and Pre-Fall ‘17 womenswear collection, will be available to buy at the Noah flagship store until February 27th and online at  www.6397news.com.

All proceeds from the collaboration t-shirt will go to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – to join in the fight for the protection of rights and liberties for every individual in the United States.

Instagram: @6397_news