A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2]

Following our first installment, we will speak next with Mr. Ogino, the owner of the world’s first knee socks specialty store, aptly called Zettai Ryoiki, that opened in Akihabara. Many of you may already be familiar with it, as it became a big topic in the media at the time of its opening.

––When was the opening?
We did a pre-opening on Feb. 1 of this year, and then Feb. 8 was Knee-so (knee-high socks) Day.

––What made you decide to open a specialty store in Akihabara?
I like Akihabara and I’d pass through it from my high school, and I’d often go to maid cafes. I asked where the maids working there got their knee-highs, and apparently there weren’t any shops in Akihabara, so everyone would go to Ikebukuro or Harajuku to buy them. And thinking about it, there really weren’t any of those kinds of stores in Akihabara, so I thought it would be good to offer some support to the maids and idols.

▲Knee socks lined up side-by-side within Zettai Ryoiki

––You’re fairly young, but what did you do previously?
I previously did management consultant work.

––How was the response to the opening?
We were very fortunate to be picked up by TV, radio and global media outlets, and in part because of Golden Bomber’s radio show in particular, we’ve had visitors from all over the country. Also, the electronics stores and maid cafes nearby will let people know where Zettai Ryoiki is and I truly feel that we’re being recognized more in Akihabara.

––Who are your typical customers?
We have maids, idols and cosplayers visiting from all over the country, from Hokkaido to Kyushu. There are also a lot of visitors from abroad. It was talked about a lot on the Chinese version of Twitter apparently, so we see a number of people from Taiwan in particular. Because of that, we’re looking into expanding overseas.

––How is business doing?
To be honest, we’re still not quite there yet, but I would like to be able to spread the culture from Akihabara through the medium of apparel, and I think in that regard, we’re taking shape. It’s also difficult to purchase stock, and what we offer is pretty much all of the knee socks that are available in Japan.

––What kinds of products are selling?
As expected, the original knee socks are the main seller. There are several varieties of classic black, so I think visitors are certain to find something they want. Under my supervision, we also offer exclusive products, where we actually talk with maids about what kind of knee socks they want, and employ designers to make pairs with designs featuring prints of the streets of Akihabara, angels, bandages or pandas.

––Where do you want to go from here?
We’ve been busy since the opening until now, so I’d like it if we could expand to collaborating with maid cafes and offering original products for each cafe. We’ve also been looking into various other collaborations, such as tie-ins with anime and businesses.

Not only did he have the resolve to start a business at a young age, but through Zettai Ryoiki, Mr. Ogino stands poised to fulfill his dream of spreading information to the world through knee socks and, on top of that, offering support to the maids working in Akihabara. Japanese culture is sure to spread around the world through knee socks.

Zettai Ryoiki
Address: Hashizume Bldg. 2F, 3-2-13 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Finally, we spoke with Riko Kohara, who has had great success playing guitar for the three-person male and female mixed band The Sketchbook, which came about from the anime TV series Sket Dance.

▲Theme: Harajuku / Model: Riko Kohara / Outfit Provided By: Zettai Ryoiki

Kneesocks Project

––What was your first encounter with knee socks?
The first encounter was when I was 18. I was really into anime as a junior high school student, and in high school, I got into cosplay, particular maid outfits, and began to wear knee socks. I think you really have to wear knee socks if it’s a maid outfit. I would change my knee socks depending on the maid outfit and I realized that different socks give quite a different impression, which made me understand the importance of knee socks.

––I’ve heard you wear them almost every day.
Ever since graduating high school, I’ve worn them all the time, 365 days a year. After that, I joined The Sketchbook in 2011 and from there I think I’ve worn them religiously.

––Was that a conscious decision?
When I thought about it, I was wearing them every day. This one day, I was at home, having trouble deciding what to wear, and ended up choosing a pair of knee socks without thinking about it, and I realized, “Wait, I only ever wear knee socks...” I also only have shorts or mini-skirts to wear with them.

––How many pairs do you own currently?
Last time I counted, I had over 40. I usually get them from various places, like ordering them through the mail or buying them at stores in the city or the specialty shop in Akihabara.

––What’s the appeal of knee socks?
It’s the thighs... I guess. [laughs] I think when you wear knee socks, they just look better than any other socks. This is just my personal opinion, but a woman’s most appealing area is the line that begins at the start of her thighs and the zettai ryoiki area below. After all, that’s a part that you don’t actively show on a regular basis. When you wear knee socks, you put on a mini-skirt or shorts, which draws people’s stares, and you start to wonder what the future holds next...

––It’s definitely men’s stares. [laughs]
Do you think about it? What the future holds?

––Certainly, a man would have high hopes for the future. But isn’t people staring at you embarrassing?
It’s not embarrassing. I think it’s important for a woman to show off her attractive features, and it’s wanting to see what you can’t see that stirs desire... If I see a woman walking down the street in knee socks, I end up following her with my eyes.

––What’s their appeal from a fashion perspective, then?
Knee socks offer variation in length, patterns and design, so I think there are infinite possibilities when it comes to choosing which knee socks to wear with an outfit. The look changes with the design, and there’s fun in choosing what knee socks to wear today that gets bigger. I also choose an outfit by first choosing knee socks and seeing what kind of fashion would go with it, going with something simple on top to make the knee socks stand out and using a similar color to create a gradation.

––Do you have any stories related to knee socks?
I wear knee socks 24/7, so of course, it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. But I don’t want to stop wearing knee socks, so I keep a blanket with me in the winter and wrap it around my waist like a pareo to protect against the cold. I get told by everyone around me, “In that case, you might as well just wear jeans,” of course... It’s like I’m being covered by my love of knee socks.

––Finally, could you share your goals for knee socks?
Though knee socks have a close following in some areas, I think they’re still a niche item with a low profile. For example, with tights, there are various styles, and it’s because of that that you can be artistic with it, and I’d like more people to see the appeal of knee socks, because they add another level of cuteness to women. Also, though there’s been increases, there are still not very many styles available, so I want to try making my own knee socks. I’d like to make knee socks that all women will want to wear.

––If you do make some, what kind of knee socks will they be?
I’d like to try making them in a different material. Like lace. And see-through ones. Not something like fishnet stockings, but where you can just barely see the legs through the fabric... A peek.

––That’s something to look forward to. Thank you very much!

We spoke with three people who love knee socks, and it seems one thing they all have in common is the desire to share something through the medium of knee socks. We hope to see the idea of knee socks as a part of Japanese pop culture spread more so that the Kneesocks Project website and the Akihabara specialty store have more visitors from around the world.

To borrow Ms. Kohara’s words, knee socks have infinite possibilities.

Outfit Provided By:
Zettai Ryoiki
The original knee socks used in these photos are available for purchase!
Address: Hashizume Bldg. 2F, 3-2-13 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Interview Cooperation:
Kneesocks Project

Gravure images were included featuring Riko Kohara, who also appeared in the interview.
http://kneesocks-project.com/

The Sketchbook:
New song “Reason” was released on Oct. 8. It’s the opening theme to the popular game Chain Chronicle.

The Sketchbook Official Site
The Sketchbook Official Blog
The Sketchbook Official Twitter

Source: Da Vinci NEWS

Source article written by Hashimoto Shoten, Yanagi Ao, Mihoko and Tetsuya Yamamoto.

A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 1
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 2
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 3
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 4
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 5
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 6
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 7
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 8
A Must-See for Fans of Zettai Ryoiki & Knee-High Socks! People Who Are Wild About Knee-High Socks [Original Gravure] [2/2] 9

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