Posted on July 20 2021
Author: William Ng - Co-Founder / Operations Director - TBA Brand
My relationship with Akira-San of Garage ILL is quite a deeply rooted one. As with all TBA ventures, it stems from Family. I remember being introduced to Akira-San, a friend of my sister-in law, for the first time during a visit to his garage in Osaka.
I went in with very little expectations and too my surprise the first thing I saw walking into his showroom was his Audi R8 Gecko project. I had seen this build before but I had no clue it was built by a friend of my sister in-laws. From our first hello, I felt a strong connection, one I didn’t really understand until the years to come. That first tour gave me a peek behind the genius behind Garage Ill. Sure he is known for his R8 Gecko kits, however looking at the trophy wall I remember seeing the familiar Lowrider Magazine logos on several trophies as I was a hardcore lowrider fan myself in my younger years. As we strolled through the shop floor, low and behold, we came across a finely painted lowrider under covers with masked stripes, a sight you’d only expect to see in East L.A. right here in Osaka.
Walking through the shop was quite mind boggling, Akira-San has his hands in all different styles of builds including a large collection of American classic muscle. Each piece is done with perfection and purpose. I wanna say selfishly as a Honda fan that a JDM garage is not complete without a Civic build and of course I was not disappointed to see an EF built for running the Kanjo Loop sitting comfortably in the lot.
With an eye for detail Akira-San and myself naturally clicked. As a production designer in my senior stages we connected, even though we spoke different languages. It is a beautiful thing when you have such large language gap, but you totally click and completely understand each others goals and expectations. Being supportive of my skill and service, he would contract me for print jobs to be produced in Canada and shipped to Japan. Working for a brand like TBA would add a next layer of connection to Garage ILL in a natural way.
Several years later I visited his shop again and this time Akira-San introduced me to his next project, the Jet Gogo. Jet Gogo is a body kit project for the K-Truck scene, rooted in the Kei Truck racing scene in Indonesia. The hook really is a vintage facade on a modern K-Truck and I have to say these are impressive! As he watched TBA’s IG throughout the years, a connection developed between the 2 brands as he appreciated the aesthetic that TBA represented. This was at a time when TBA was working with brands like RWB, Work, Rocket Bunny (Pandem NA) and Voltex etc. When Akira approached us with the idea of a collab T-Shirt this was an easy ‘yes’ for us. Akira-San would push the TBA x Jet Gogo for a few years to come in Japan, until finally there came a point where it was time to take it to the next level! A TBA Brand x Jet Gogo K Truck!
The pandemic had taken a toll on both companies and this project symbolized our fight to build ourselves back up. Akira-San approached us with this idea to build a truck symbolizing hope, peace and of course, the passion for detail in design. For the next couple of months we worked on the design and aesthetic and provided the renderings to Akira-San. Akira-San took them away and converted them to what you see here. We have learned many things from this project, the most important was that the skill and vision of Akira-San is absolutely impeccable. A Master in his craft he brought this digital render to life, we are truly and deeply humbled to have been given the opportunity to work on this project with Akira-San.
As we embark on this next chapter in the TBA story, we hope we have inspired people to not bind themselves with the walls they put up. But rather break them down, cause when you do that, anything can happen.