Yasuto Kamoshita is a keen observer of culture. As creative director of United Arrows and the cult label Camoshita, he travels relentlessly, grabbing inspiration from disparate sources but always pulling off a unified vision. Sound like the definition of originality? You might say so.
On a recent trip to New York, we had a chance sit down with the very easy-to-laugh Fred Astaire fan to discuss his fashion philosophy.
Camoshita is young but has a very loyal following. What do you think attracts people to the brand?
Yasuto Kamoshita: I used to be a buyer and I felt like there was something missing in the market—so I decided to create it. The idea was to make unique articles, but have them be wearable for a long time. I believe people that are passionate about fashion understand the idea.
What new fabrics or styles are you introducing for Fall 2012?
YK: I was making very tailored suits and jackets, but this season I tried to bring a more casual feeling to the line, though one that is still beautiful and sophisticated. You will see this in the fit, the color combinations and the fabrics we’ve chosen. When you use fabric that is poorly made, it just sits flat like a piece a paper—it lives only in two dimensions. I like to create “3D luxury,” if you will.
Do you feel like you are a person that rejects trends or embraces them?
YK: Really, it is both. One or the other on its own would not be good enough. In theory, menswear should be timeless. But it can also be disposable sometimes and so each piece needs to have a spark, like fireworks.
What have been your sources of inspiration recently?
YK: First of all, I have some very long-standing friendships with other designers. We are just having conversations and influencing each other. On a daily basis, there is also music and literature that inspires me, but I have been traveling a lot too, and finding beauty in architecture and the natural landscape. I have recently been to Paris, South Africa and out to Montauk to visit my friend Bob. He owns a store called Melet Mercantile. I feel like a kid on a field trip, just seeing all of these new things. I also went to Istanbul and was very inspired by the local costume. I even put kilim in one of my own presentations.
Next, I will go to Yosemite Park after a visit to San Francisco. It has always been my dream, so I will go next November.
Do you have a uniform? What forms the backbone of your wardrobe?
YK: Not exactly a uniform—I don’t like to wear the same clothes too often. My closet is very full, with a variety of different labels, patterns and colors. So I try to wear something different every day. I like to coordinate my look with a classic piece by adding something fun. I try to challenge myself to make it look more interesting with unique variations and combinations.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said one should remove all exclamation points from one’s writing. Do you believe there should be “exclamation points” in menswear?
YK: Men should dress appropriately so that they always make the woman by their side look good. But I think as long as you are reflecting your own personality in your dress, you will always appear elegant, with or without exclamation points.
Translation by Masako Kaufman
1. Three-button sportjacket with straight leg trouser; 2. Cable knit crew neck sweater; 3. Mélange vest; 4. Chambray rounded point collar shirt; 5. Mélange double breasted peacoat; 6. Flat front trouser