Japanese footwear and accessories label Hender Scheme derives its name from Sandra Berns’ gender schema theory which proposes to inhibit the destructive nature of sex-typing by nurturing individual choice. Originally a philosophy student, designer and founder Ryo Kashiwazaki, after studying leather craft under Tokyo’s shokunin masters, began Hender Scheme in 2010 to design beyond gender’s social and cultural expectations.
“By understanding the two opposing aspects and finding balance in concepts such as modernity vs. handraftsmanship, or inhumanity vs. humanity, we can express ourselves…”
This aesthetic concept - the creation of things that balance in nature - is also the fusion of industrial and artisanal processes. Using raw, vegetable-tanned leather as their signature material, Hender Scheme builds well-known shoe silhouettes and homewares in a surprising new way. Known worldwide by streetwear and fashion enthusiasts for reproducing popular sneakers like Nike’s Air Force 1, the Air Jordan IV, and adidas Superstar, Hender Scheme elevates sneaker icons with veg-tanned leather and hand-sewn, traditional construction.
With this design approach going against people’s notion of discarding sneakers when they get old, Hender Scheme uses “aging leather” to express the essence of the design’s life story. These are sneakers that can be resoled; the importance is therefore placed on longevity and subtle change. Each and every one of an individual’s habits, characteristics, and environment take their physical toll on the product and in doing so, there’s a new shape and hue. They may look great on display, but they’re tools to be used.
It is only after a Hender Scheme product displays the unique characteristics of their owner - obtaining a lustrous, storied patina, that Ryo Kashiwazaki deems his work complete.