Interview & Text: Miwa Goroku Photography: Hidemasa Miyake Translation: Oilman
Nowadays, the phrase “styles uninfluenced by trend” has become a cliché expression amongst many brands and the media. However, if you track back to the origin of the phrase, the first person you will encounter in the field of fashion, is probably Takashi Kumagai. Having began his career in the 90s as a stylist in Paris, Takashi has continually expanded his field of work, not only in areas of photography and directing, but also to the extent of fashion. Recently, he has also acquired fame for his direction of Biotop, WILD LIFE TAILOR, and other stores. What is at the base of the styles created by the multitalented Takashi Kumagai? Here, we will introduce an interview recorded at the 2013-2014 autumn-winter exhibition of Takashi Kumagai’s men’s fashion brand, NAISSANCE.
- First, I would like to ask you about the 4th season of NAISSANCE’s running collection (2013 spring-summer). What sort of image did you have in mind when producing this season’s characteristic colors of green, yellow, and navy?
The theme was based on Alan Delon in the movie “Plein soleil” (1960). The linen jackets and shorts were designed in the image of southern France. I guess if there were Asians in Cote d’Azur, that is how they would look. I think the lengths of the shorts are the shortest in the industry.
- They were certainly very short. How did people react to them?
- I noticed the jacket you’re wearing is also a new NAISSANCE release. You seem to wear it casually, but is it a tuxedo?
Yes, it’s a linen tuxedo. I was very particular about producing this perfectly colored green.
- Are there any differences in the way you direct your two main brands, GDC and NAISSANCE?
I have been working as the creative director for GDC since 1998 and its customers range between the age of 20 to early 30s. On the other hand, NAISSANCE is a new brand we started in the autumn-winter of 2011, and it’s targeted towards age groups ranging from late 20s up to the 70s. Its growing fan base clearly reflects our expectations. The select shops that deal with NAISSANCE, such as Biotop and WILD LIFE TAILOR, have a rather mature customer base. I feel the clothes successfully reflect the lifestyles I propose.
- What motivated you to establish NAISSANCE?
I wanted to make a good brand that I could grow old with. When I become 60, I’m planning to make clothes for 60 year olds at NAISSANCE. Conversely, I direct GDC so its designs won’t age. If the brand ages with me, the core of the brand will go off track, maybe leading to the eradication of the logo or the modification of its killer item stadium jumpers, which are currently being made for our gardening and botanical series.
- So you wear NAISSANCE on a regular basis?
Yes I do. However, when I go to buy plants, I wear GDC, because we make botanical-buying-suits that enable you to carry sickles and hoes. On the topic of gardening, GDC also creates uniforms for SOLSO, the architectural planting group. I consider GDC to be the young me + greenery, and NAISSANCE to be the real me.