January 20, 2020

In conversation with the man behind Fragment Design: Hiroshi Fujiwara

He’s the name behind the double thunderbolt icon; a stamp of style approval that’s made its way onto the most cutting edge fashion collaborations under the name Fragment Design. Hiroshi Fujiwara (@fujiwarahiroshi) is a Japanese artist who is known for igniting the movements that create worldwide trends. In this conversation, we dive into our ultra-exclusive collaboration and uncover what Polaroid means to him. 

This interview has been translated from Japanese.

When did you first hear about Polaroid? 

Hiroshi: I don’t remember, but my relative owned a camera shop and my mother was working there. I was curious, so I became very close to the cameras. I think Polaroid was amongst them. Was this the good old ‘70s or ‘90s? Perhaps it’s Eames or part of the boom of such things. At that time, it was a resurrection, so I bought an old one and used it.

Why do you think shooting with Polaroid film is interesting?

Hiroshi: The most attractive thing is a portrait. You can create a photograph right away. For example, you can take a photo of all the people who come by. I used to take a photo of all the people who visited and put them on the wall. 

I also had the big eyeball camera, which the forensic scientists used. The camera looked so unique. It’s a Macro 5 SLR camera. It looks like this big white box.

SLR680s were collected from all over the world to make the custom Polaroid Fragment SLR680. It was actually harder than we thought. It also might be our last collaboration using this amount of SLR680….

Hiroshi: Thank you very much. (Laughs) What was the last one before this project? The guys from SACAI was doing. Is it SX70? I shot at that time, but isn’t it difficult to handle that camera? Like focus.

The film is sensitive…

Hiroshi: Yes, it has high sensitivity and the focus is only manual. So in that sense, the SLR680 has evolved.

Can you talk us through the design of this camera?

Hiroshi: Well, basically I like simple things, I wanted to make it simple, and I wanted to put in a slightly luxurious feeling.

Here’s a sample of the camera. I hope you like it.

Hiroshi: Yes, I’m happy. I want to use it myself. It is great that I could make this design.

Many of the past collaborations you have done use black. What’s the reason behind that?

Hiroshi: There is no doubt. The camera body is black anyway. It is actually easy to make things in color, but in the end if you want to use it for a long time black is always the color that lasts.

Why is Polaroid such an attractive brand in the digital era?

Hiroshi: The shape is good, and … it’s that analog feel that is still valid in the digital age. I think there is a lot of charm with Polaroid.

I also had the big eyeball camera, which the forensic scientists used. The camera looked so unique. It’s a Macro 5 SLR camera. It looks like this big white box.

Your collaboration changed the Polaroid logo. That hasn’t happened in the very long history of Polaroid.

Hiroshi: It’s my honor. Well done. (Laughs)

You cared a lot about keeping the Polaroid film frame as white as possible. Why is that?

Hiroshi: It’s important that the Polaroid frame is white, so you can write on them.

Why did you choose Polaroid?

Hiroshi: I was invited by a team here in Japan and I took this offer without consideration. As I have used Polaroid back in the day, it feels like it’s original. 

It’s called ‘Polaroid Power’. If you take a picture with a Leica, you know it’s Leica and 

Polaroid also has that kind of feeling. The photo comes out in this square shape to make your photo ‘arty’.

For you, how do you balance digital and analog in your life?

Hiroshi: I prefer convenience, so there is a lot of emphasis on digital. That’s why I don’t use analog cameras. After all, isn’t it difficult to develop with an ordinary camera? That needs the Lab to develop. But in the case of Polaroid film, it develops itself. So it is not a completely analog camera. It feels like Polaroid is cutting-edge in the analog era.

What do you wish for Polaroid Originals?

Hiroshi: I hope the revival goes well.

Shop our exclusive collaboration with Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment Design.