Why I, who used to only wear plain clothes, now wear HERALBONY dresses [Interview with Mika Horii]

"HERALBONY & PEOPLE" is a series where we talk to people who support HERALBONY. In this series, we interview people from all walks of life who are in tune with HERALBONY's activities and business. We ask these people, who stand out in various fields such as art, business, design, welfare, and culture, "What does HERALBONY mean to you?"

In the third episode, Mika Horii, a freelance announcer, appears. We talked to her about the "Shiawase Pink" dress by the unique artist fuco: that she purchased from the HERALBONY online store last year, and the "expansion" that came from it.

"I want to support people!" This dress was purchased with that feeling in mind.

--Horii-san, thank you for always supporting HERALBONY. Last year, you posted a picture of yourself in a "Happiness Pink" dress on your social media account, which caused a big stir and sparked interest in you from many people of all ages.

Before we go into more detail about One Piece, could you tell us how you first encountered Heralbony?

Mika Horii (hereinafter, Horii): I first met them when Takaya Matsuda, the company's president, was a guest on the podcast I host, "WEDNESDAY HOLIDAY." I was familiar with the company itself and had always been interested in it.

>> #34 Announcer Mika Horii x Takaya Matsuda, CEO of HERALBONY "Common sense? Preconceptions? What you can see by questioning the obvious"

Horii: On the radio program, I heard about the process that led to the launch of HERALBONY, the challenges they are currently facing, and the direction they want to take in the future, and I just felt like I wanted to support them. But I was wondering how I could support them.

Before meeting them on the show, I had looked at their website and e-commerce site and knew that they had a lot of wonderful products and art pieces, so I thought I would support them by wearing them myself or having them close to me.

Horii-san wearing the "Happiness Pink" color that has caused a big stir on social media (Photo: Kim Areum)

--And that led to posting on social media!

Horii: Yes. Each and every episode that Matsuda shared on the radio show was filled with the desire to make someone happy, and I thought it was wonderful. I wanted to share that wonderful feeling with myself, and see with my own eyes what would come out of it. I felt that way, and naturally became a cheerleader.

Other than that, the product itself was simply attractive. To be honest, I haven't been buying many clothes lately. I've been decluttering and trying to reduce the amount of stuff in my closet. So the "Happy Pink" dress I bought from the HERALBONY online store is a big exception (laughs).

Thinking about it, I think I bought this piece not as a piece of clothing or a costume, but more as something "symbolic." I wanted to keep it close at hand as an item of support for HERALBONY.

Heralbony changed the world where cookies were sold for 100 yen

Today's dress is also by fuco: "Hajimete no Shikaku." (※This item is sold out.)

--Could you please dig deeper and tell us why you felt so keen to support us?

Horii: I think the amazing thing about Heralbony's business is that it delivers art works and various products that use them to society as "value." Until now, products such as cookies and miscellaneous goods made by people with disabilities, as well as art works, have been distributed on the market. However, I had doubts about whether they were being priced at a fair price that was commensurate with their inherent "value."

In fact, I couldn't help but get the impression that they were being distributed with extremely low prices, such as 100 yen per bag of cookies, with the attitude that "it's fine as long as it reaches someone's hands." The buyer also somehow feels that they are "buying for someone," and the act of purchasing becomes increasingly detached from the "value" of the product itself.

HERALBONY has made a big change to that. Not only has it given artists a solid "value," it has also created a system that allows artists to perpetually turn their work into "work." I was really impressed by this.

--Both the "Shiawase Pink" that you purchased, Horii-san, and the new "Hajimete no Shikaku" that you are wearing today are very vibrant pieces. Do you usually buy these types of dresses?

Horii: No. I never normally buy this kind of clothes (laughs). But if I were to buy one item from HERALBONY, I decided without hesitation that it would be this one. When I posted it on social media, the response was amazing. Everyone at X was excited too, saying things like "This is so cute!" and "Where is it from?"

Since then, I have worn it as a costume for events and stages several times. It is so vivid and eye-catching that many people at the venue say to me, "What an interesting pattern!" or "What a beautiful fabric!" From there, we can talk about HERALBONY, and it's a piece that really gets the conversation going.

Some people saw the dress I was wearing and became interested in HERALBONY, some bought the same dress, and some purchased other products at the online store or pop-up. I'm grateful that the circle has expanded from this one dress.

I looked at it the same way I looked at Rothko and Pollock.

--Do you usually purchase art works?

Horii: I used to buy a lot of things, and when I was an announcer, I would buy art pieces and store them carefully in the company locker room (laughs). When I brought them home, my family would ask me, "What, you bought them?" So on weekends, I would secretly take them out of the locker room, expose them to the air, and take a photo at the end.

There are many artists I like, but I often went to art galleries, mainly contemporary art. I looked at the works of Heralbony artists in online stores, not as art by people with disabilities, art brut, or outsider art, but as works that were simply fascinating. I also liked and often viewed the works of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, so it naturally became part of me without any sense of incongruity.

--You've been wearing pieces such as "Happiness Pink" and "First Square," but what do you think about the experience of wearing "art"?

Horii: I think I bought the dress as a piece of wearable art. I see it as a symbol of "having something from HERALBONY," or as an icon that, when worn, can encourage others to buy HERALBONY. It has a different meaning than simply wearing a pretty piece of clothing.

She gave me an excuse to wear a patterned dress that was too daunting.

-- For you, buying a dress may be similar to buying a work of art. However, I think there are some people who feel that wearing vibrant "art" as clothing is too difficult.

Horii: Actually, I've been wearing pretty plain clothes since I was an announcer. Even when I was in the TV industry, I had a strong feeling that I didn't want to stand out in a weird way. That's why my closet is all black. So, it takes a lot of courage to wear this dress for anything other than an event or stage costume (laughs).

But, as I said before, I think the reason I can wear such a bold dress is because I see it as an icon. It's like an "excuse" for myself for not having the courage to wear it.

Wearing a HERALBONY dress is like wearing the story of the piece and the artist's thoughts. It's not just wearing colorful clothing. In that sense, I think a HERALBONY dress can be a great "starting point."

-- I think wearing art you like is a way of expressing your own individuality. I think that's one of the values ​​that HERALBONY wants to offer to our customers, so I'm very happy to hear you say that.

Horii: If you still don't have the courage, I recommend wearing it as an accent color under a black jacket, or wearing a white cardigan, or combining it with a plain, subdued color. Show a little "individuality" with an accent color. In that way, even someone like me who usually wears plain clothes can easily try it. You can also try reducing the visible area. I recommend wearing a hoodie on top, as it gives the impression of wearing a cute long skirt.

Horii-san paired a long black cardigan with a dress.

Horii: But strangely enough, you gradually get used to it as you wear it. The outfit I'm wearing today is a vibrant color, and it's great that it just cheers you up when you wear it! It might take some courage at first, but once you try it on, you'll feel energized, so I'd like even those who usually wear modest fashion to give it a try.

--I understand the feeling of being energized very well. I'm very happy that you feel the vitality and driving force of Isai Art. I hope that HERALBONY products will continue to fill your daily life with Isai color.

Edited by: Yuko Umino (Heralbony)
Text: Maru Pro Photo: Yudai Omokawa

[Only 5 left] The dress worn by Horii in "Happy Pink"

Photography: Kim Ah-reum

[HAND×HERALBONY] Dress "Happy Pink" (5 left)
*The "Hajimete no Shikaku" dress is sold out.

[Only a few left] Experience wearing art for yourself.

Disney × HERALBONY | Shirt blouse "Donuts"
Disney × HERALBONY | Bowtie Blouse "Donut" (1 item left)

Cropped shirt "Summer Demon" (4 left)
Click here for a list of shirts and blouses