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Styleforum Designer Series Part I: KZO (Kazuo)

whodini

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Styleforum is proud to announce the Designer Series, the latest experiment in promoting dialogue between forum members and brands known or soon to be discovered by the SF community. The concept is simple: on a regular basis a thread will be created with the active involvement of a representative of a particular brand. The focus will be rather broad in that it will capture as in-depth of an image as possible to include a brand's production, philosophy, and overall business aspects. On top of an introduction and on-location photos the hope is to also get as lively and honest of a Q&A session as possible in which forum members can have any doubts or curiosities cleared straight from the source. So without further ado... Fast Five: Who: Joel Knoernschild, Creative Director and President. What: KZO (Kazuo). http://www.kzocinematics.com Where: Based in Los Angeles, CA, specifically in the Arts District downtown. When: Its first runway show was this past October. Why: "K.Z.O is the cause and effect of not being able to find the types of clothes we want to wear with high attention to detail, fabrics, fabrications, fit, global quality, and point of view. The customer deserves respect and speed to market while K.Z.O maintains its integrity by supplying great product at a respectful price." I met up with Joel down at KZO headquarters last week while I was briefly in L.A. and caught him just as he had gotten back from Japan, where a good chunk of the line is made, on a trip to finish up his Fall 09 designs with his team. The large space was creatively used as part warehouse, part office, part showroom, and part jam session studio with his sister's drum kit parked at the far end of the building. Perched up on the wall of the "living room" was a painting by friend and co-collaborator Brett Westfall of Unholy Matrimony who helped with this season's flannel piece. We talked a bit about stores we liked in LA and he mentioned how Opening Ceremony had been doing a "USA vs JAPAN" clothing showcase where they offered a few interesting brands like N Hoolywood. In telling him that I liked a few of the designs several Japanese brands but that I wondered if anything would fit me, he chuckled. "Yeah, we'd probably be a size XL in those brands." It turned out that KZO arose from an appreciation of the Japanese aesthetic but that he wanted the clothes' fit and prices to be generally more approachable. With respect to the line's military tones (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) he stressed his family's history, namely his mother's side of the family who was taken to the Japanese internment camp Manzanar during World War II, as playing a very personal inspiration. He promised that this Spring/Summer's collection would take on a bit of an outdoors approach with flannels, technical jackets, and even backpacks and bags being thrown in the mix. KZO can be found on Revolve, Blackbird, and affiliate Dresscodes. Outside KZO headquarters in downtown LA:
Joel running around the workshop:
SS09 in the foreground (note blue rain jacket and red/cream flannel) with Brett Westfall's work on display in the background:
Items from FW08:
A shipment of Kazuo:
Joel saying that affiliate Atsui actually means "hot" in Japanese:
 

Brood_Star

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bamping because the concept is interesting
 
Last edited:

whodini

Conan OOOOOOO"BRIEN!
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The thing is that the attention to details and quality are far, far different from B. Son or other brands in that territory. Take a look at the shirts worn in my last two WAYWNS for example.

I'll try to get Joel in today to talk a bit about the line himself and answer questions people might have.
 

fudgebutt

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love the kazuo shirt i picked up from dresscodes atlanta
 

fosho

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First off this idea kicks ass. Second, whodini, your last couple WAYWT fit pics definitely turned me on this brand and after checking out their stuff on Revolve, I love some of the pieces. The black-wine knit and immersion jacket are definitely must-haves on my list.

Two questions:

- To risk sounding dumb, how exactly do you say the brand name, is it K-Z-O or Kazuou? If it's the latter, how do you pronounce "Kazou?"

- How does the sizing go? I know the brand is inspired by Japanese aesthetic so I'm wondering how slim the pieces actually run.

Thanks, and again, I love this idea!
 

toothsomesound

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I think this is a great concept, and the stuff you've been wearing in your WAYWTs has been pretty awesome.

Some of it does seem to push the ninja-goth button a little too hard, but I think there are a lot of very well done pieces that look awesome and versatile...

EDIT: Fosho- If it's Kazuo as in the Japanese name, it's pronounce phonetically, "kah-zoo-oh".
 

Bam!ChairDance

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None of the models on sites like Revolve and Tobi seem to understand how to wear Kazuo. Maybe this is how the garments are supposed to fit, but I'm seeing a lot of overly boxy stuff. Like the immersion jacket-- I have yet to see a fit pic where it even comes close to flattering the body that wears it. I do like the Freedom 2 jacket, even though it somehow echoes Shades of Greige in this faint way.
Originally Posted by Brood Star
b son douchey
Are you saying some pieces are loud/overly detailed? I'm confused.
 

fosho

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Andrew - Thanks for the pronunciation!

Bam! - I agree the models in the picture are making it look kind of boxy, but check out who's pictures in WAYWT. It looks like their stuff is pretty fitted.
 

evilgeniusdan

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Definitely into the shirts and some of the stuff Whodini has been wearing recently. And this vest
 

29.97

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Originally Posted by fosho
First off this idea kicks ass. Second, whodini, your last couple WAYWT fit pics definitely turned me on this brand and after checking out their stuff on Revolve, I love some of the pieces. The black-wine knit and immersion jacket are definitely must-haves on my list. Two questions: - To risk sounding dumb, how exactly do you say the brand name, is it K-Z-O or Kazuou? If it's the latter, how do you pronounce "Kazou?" - How does the sizing go? I know the brand is inspired by Japanese aesthetic so I'm wondering how slim the pieces actually run. Thanks, and again, I love this idea!
† Thank you Albert for the intro. "Whodini" and I (as well as Style Forum) have been talking about doing something like this for while now. First off, I'd like to thank you all for this opportunity. Second, I hope that doesn't get misconstrued as a chance for a brand to just talk about themselves and "spam the board" with marketing jargon, but a respectful way to ask honest questions and get honest answers regarding KZO, or any other brand for the Designers Series down the road. †† AndrewRyanWallace, Thanks for your question. Regarding the name Kazuo is my Grandfathers name and my middle name in Japanese (I'm half Japanese-Half American German). It was shortened down to simply KZO our second/third season. I may use the full name down the road again but for now, Kazuo is the "umbrella company" and the collection is just KZO. I work extremely close with my pattern maker in Tokyo, between Aoyama & Harajuku to "dial-in" the fit. We have a "graded block library" (it's pretty standard for most collections) to make sure that the sizing is what the creative director is looking for. Since the beginning, I wanted to stress that we are an American brand, and the fit must not be Japanese, because frankly, it's too small. Is our fit slim? Maybe a bit yes, but fit's become modified as brands change their minds on what the block should be like (like pants, one season they embrace high-rise, slim fit, relaxed, the next season CDG drop-crotch cropped pants, etc). Maybe this photo helps too: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...65#post1465165 Thanks for your questions AndrewRyan Wallace. † JK †
 

PG2G

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Haha, didn't realize who you were when I met you at edison.

<--- Mr. Jack and Diet
 

29.97

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that was a fun night, prohibition prices. i have some great photos. and, the corrupted/asunder show afterwards was seriously crazy....
 

Serg

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Makes me think of a west coast aesthetic rogues gallery.
 

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