Not Just One Thing | Meet Fig&Viper’s Creative Director, Alisa Ueno

Author: Zenna Wilberg / Photos: Yuma Yamashita
06.21 / #CommitToYou

Alisa Ueno's pursuits can't be summarized under one label. She's the founder and creative director of clothing label Fig&Viper, successful DJ, model, and much more. As part of MISSBISH's ongoing series with Vans, we're highlighting creative individuals like Alisa who do their best work with different projects on the go, proving that they are 'Not Just One Thing.'

From creating fashion-forward clothing label Fig&Viper in 2011, to working with Sofi Tukker on the hit track "Best Friend" just last year, Alisa has made an exceptional career of expressing herself through various creative outlets and refusing to limit herself. We got to chat with the Tokyo-based creative about how she finds balance, what she likes best about her work, and her personal style.

Learn more about Alisa below!

What was the hardest part of starting your own label, Fig&Viper? What’s been the best part?
To be honest, I don't think there was anything too difficult about starting it. Since I didn't have much knowledge about clothing, I took a whole year to study, and visited the manufacturing factories in China. Of course, I was a little afraid in the beginning before the release of the brand, but since everything I was doing was so new to me, I was very excited about it.

It's always fun to see how the samples turn out. Making catalogs and being able to express yourself through clothing and the story that goes with it is also exciting. Doing runway shows are always so much fun as well. And last but not least, it's a great feeling to see people wearing the clothes that you designed.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
From travels, and through meeting and speaking with people. Like many people, I tend to naturally look for inspirations without realizing I am.

How have you grown as a designer over the years?
I used to need to put all my focus and time into designing, but now I am a lot more efficient so I have more time to work on things.

As a DJ, how would you describe your musical style?
Lately, I mainly play house music. When I DJ, I play a lot of tech or future house, and I personally like bass and hip-hop as well.

"...I think it's important to meet a lot of people and to learn from them, and to be able to share your ideas with them."

The music industry is notoriously difficult—what’s one piece of advice you have for aspiring musicians?
I'm not sure if I'm in any position to be giving any advice, but I think it's important to meet a lot of people and to learn from them, and to be able to share your ideas with them. Also, I think it's important to have a clear image of what you like and what you don't like.

What’s a must-have skincare or makeup product?
Kiehl's lip balm, Dior Backstage foundation, and a beauty blender.

What’s one of the best things about living in Tokyo?
The food!

Through pursuing various interests like fashion, DJing, and modeling, you’ve created a career path that is 'Not Just One Thing.' How do you find balance for your different pursuits? What do you like about having multiple creative outlets?
I'm not sure if I'm actually balancing everything, but I used to want to do everything by myself. Now, I feel comfortable sharing work with someone else. It's because of the support from the people around me that I'm able to do more than one thing, and since I'm interested in various career paths, I have more inputs and inspirations than someone focusing on just one thing. I think it also helps that everything I do is somewhat related.

What does MISSBISH mean to you? Who is your MISSBISH?
The girls in my crew here in Tokyo are pretty up there, but for me, my mother is the MISSBISH. I want to become a strong, loving, and caring woman just like my mother, and I want to have my kids look up to me as their MISSBISH as well.

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