If you follow the #menswear scene even casually, you recognize this guy. But you may not know who he is. His interest and influence in menswear began long before the hashtag, before even the Internet. Kamoshita is a sartorial polyglot - as a young man he immersed himself in Ivy Style; as a buyer and now Creative Director of the famed Japanese store United Arrows, he has gained mastery over Italian style; and he remains an advocate of Japanese style, meticulousness, and respect of craftsmanship.
Camoshita, his own clothing brand and personal project, speaks this creole in tailored clothing with a playful lilt. Here is my conversation with him.
What would you describe as the Japanese aesthetic, and how would you say it influences your designs?
As I examine the designs created in Western culture, I try to update them, and same time add authentic taste as a Japanese person.
It reflects not only craftsmanship, but also colors, material, form and balance.
You're one of the most photographed men in the apparel business. When did this start? Has the knowledge that you will be photographed changed the way you dress?
I remember the first photo overseas was taken by Scott Schuman, but cannot remember what year. I don't believe that it changed how I dress.
You use a lot of interesting colors in your tailored clothing. Do you think that in the coming years men will wear wear to work suits other than just the standard grey and blue, or must more colorful suits always be reserved for out-of-office use?
I believe that grey and blue suits in office are basic and at the same time, a very important dress code. But I would be disappointed if they become a uniform. I believe that business wear can be more fun.
The suits are supposed to be the wardrobe in social. That is the reason I design the suits in colors.
Many men who would like to wear tailored clothing today didn't grow up in a culture of suit-and-tie-wearing. In some sense they're borrowing and recreating a style from another culture, just as you have. Do you have any suggestions for how to borrow from another culture while still making your style your own?
I always have my own beliefs and thoughts, but I try to be very flexible with new and interesting cultures. I like to adjust and change myself while remaining classic.
You've said that you like your tailored look to be relaxed and not too serious. At the same time, you clearly take a lot of time to think carefully when designing a new piece or putting together an outfit. Do you see a tension in those two goals or do they somehow work together?
I like to keep my collection for the people who are relaxed and enjoy dressing. but I am always serious and I take time to make it. I have never been able to be creative in relaxed mood!