By David Isle and Jasper Lipton
Last month, we brought you the first part of our interview with Yasuto Kamoshita, the Creative Director of United Arrows. The second part is below.
David Isle: A lot of the jackets and suits that you design are not really conservative business dress. Do you think there are enough men who want to wear suits or jackets when not required to for work? Or do you think offices will soon be more permissive of, say, a shawl-collared suit jacket?
Yasuto Kamoshita: That’s something I am thinking about for the future. Of course it’s beyond my control what dress codes companies choose. But I think the business dress code is becoming less and less rigid. How you dress is a communication tool. It’s important to dress appropriately for each person that you meet with and each situation that you enter. Maybe in the future it will be appropriate to go into work wearing a suit with sneakers. It used to be that an odd jacket was just for the weekend, but now it’s business attire. So these things are always changing.
Even suits themselves were originally for socializing - the “lounge” suit. I would like for them to return to their roots as an outfit for socializing instead of being just for business.
D: What do you think it communicates in a social setting to wear a casual suit as opposed to jeans or other streetwear?
YK: I think these suits fit in with the current movement, so they’re fashionable in a nice restaurant or cafe’. So it projects fashion-consciousness. But not too “dressed up”.
Jasper Lipton: I’m always interested in the intersection of aesthetic and practical use - for instance, at the Met right now there’s an exhibit on Chinese calligraphy, which communicates but is also an art form, and is painstakingly produced, with a respect for the result as an aesthetic object. Is that similar to how you think about clothing?
YK: For me, it’s more about making the person who’s wearing it look good. Whether it’s machine-made or hand-sewn, what’s important is that it looks good when worn. So in that sense I appreciate clothing in a different way than calligraphy, which as you say, takes on its own life as an object independent from its functional role as a method of communication.
But there are some practical virtues of hand-made suits, in that they can be more natural and show the wearer’s body better.
J: Can fashion become art?
YK: I don’t think so.
J: Even designing?
YK: Well, some people say it’s art, some people say it isn’t. I can’t really say.
J&D: Thank you so much for your time.
YK: One question for the both of you…what do like about the Camoshita brand?
J: I’ll start, since I bought my first Camoshita jacket last week and am now wearing it for the first time. It’s elegant, but it feels easy to wear. You can put your hands in the pockets, pop the collar around your neck when it’s chilly, but it always hangs well and feels good. My family is from the east coast of the United States, so I’m used to seeing my uncles in Brooks Brothers and other Ivy gear. So this jacket is familiar, but at the same time unique and different enough that I don’t feel like I have to be old to wear it.
D: Well, Jasper likes that he can wear it without feeling too old…I like that I can wear it without feeling too young. For me, wearing a lot of these items would be dressing down rather than up. But I like that they’re not really standard classic menswear but their uniqueness doesn’t look forced to me. It looks like something that should have been around for a long time, even if it hasn’t.
YK: I’ve always been based in the classic patterns and inspired from archives. But increasingly I’m drawing inspiration just from daily life and not looking so much to the past. I’m in more and more of a relaxed mood these days.
J: My last question - you asked us what we like about Camoshita. What do you like about Camoshita?
YK: [laughs heartily and bashfully] It’s like when you have your friends over for dinner, and cook a nice meal for them, and they tell you that it’s delicious. That’s the way I feel about designing clothes for Camoshita. And that feeling is the thing I like most about the brand.
Styleforum Interviews Yasuto Kamoshita of United Arrows: a Japanese Take on Italian Style (Part 2)
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