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Taisuke Kohji – The Designer Who Infused Fashion with Life through KOH T

Taisuke Kohji

I grew up in a place rich in nature called Fukuoka located in the south of Japan. From an early age, I had disassembled and arranged my clothes. At that time, it was all about expressing myself in fashion. I couldn’t buy all the clothes I wanted, so I gradually decided to make them myself. I have an adventurous spirit, and I love creating art through my designs. I have studied in England and noticed few differences when talking about fashion: the Japanese focus on more inner things from ancient times transposing beauty and strength that comes from the inside into garments. At one point I understood that the only way to express everything I wanted was to create my own line in Japan.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

KoH T was established in 2018, and this is the second season of a collection from my brand. Currently, we are working with KoH T’s creative team to produce clothes that combine fashion, art, and craftsmanship. We also provide branding/consulting for fashion brands, apparel, trading companies, and textile production areas. I feel uncomfortable with mass-consumed clothing. I think we should take responsibility for quality as much as we produce clothes. I am conscious of making clothes that we want to wear carefully. The number of factories that become more mindful in manufacturing has increased. There are still problems, but the KoH T brand wants to change everyone’s consciousness. KoH T is ahead of the curve as a sustainable brand in Japan that still makes a small number of sustainable contributions. In Japan, eco-consciousness is not as widespread even among consumers. I think that the situation can be changed by transforming one’s consciousness.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

A change of habit requires time, but we believe that embedding sustainability into our designs is the ethical thing to do for our planet and our consumers. Fashion is enriched by enjoyment and is destined to improve the quality of life. There are still wonderful things undiscovered in the world, so we are focusing on collaboration with artists and inheriting traditional techniques that the world does not know yet.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

The theme of the Spring / Summer 2021 Collection is “Cosmic Dual Forces Plus 27”, which focuses on 27 plus elements of Oriental thought. There is a saying that a balance cannot be established unless both plus and minus exist. Textiles originally developed include embroidery and gold leaf. The design emphasized a relaxed luxury silhouette using drapes and gathers, combined with fabrics such as linen, silk, cotton, and Tencel. The creative process starts with thoughts about people’s lives and spirituality where the creative team exchanges opinions and the designers shape them. We value not only things but also themes and feelings that can be put into a collection. We spend more time brainstorming than anything else. I want to make a collection that will touch people’s hearts when they see KoH T’s creation, so I will do a lot of analysis before making a garment. Since manufacturing starts when I meet people, my imagination expands and special ideas, that cannot be created at the desk, are born. I can rediscover unique designs, as inspiration comes from nature, crafts, or cultures I encountered when traveling. Some of the designs are unique to Japan and are obsolete under the current circumstances.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

My desire is to convey craftsmanship to the world through the creations that I make. The process of actually making clothes begins with making the fabric. Digging up and reviving deadstock fabrics and archives and collaborating with artists is quintessential. The shape of a garment can be remade many times until perfection is achieved, and I am satisfied with the result. Sometimes I carve wood myself to make a print plate. Through trial and error with craftsmen, new ideas are born.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

KOH T’s clothes are relaxed and luxurious with a calculated looseness. They are meant to keep your mind and body healthy. It’s a timeless wardrobe that the wearer can feel comfortable in daily life. “KoH T’s clothing is designed to create space between the clothes and the body: a blouse increases volume and becomes gorgeous when worn, a summer dress whose back-silhouette sways softly when you walk, a jacket featuring a contrast that spreads in all directions by tacking the waist and hem, pants with calculated silhouettes of the buttocks, thighs, and ankles, a gown that can be worn as a kimono.“ I think you can discover a new self by wearing our clothes. The secret is that the pattern has been thoroughly researched, high-quality materials have been used, and the silhouette is designed to express your inner beauty. Transparency is very important to us. What fabric is made of is fully disclosed: For example, Bemberg, an up-cycled fabric, or Manila hemp fabric, with hand-dyed craftsmen. The pattern drawn by the designer together with the embroiderer is sewn at a Japanese factory.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

If anyone has forgotten the joy of fashion, I would like to remind it through creations that have integrated spirit and energy as the purest expression of art meant to touch the human soul. Wearing KoH T clothes will enrich your heart and enjoy your life. KoH T aims for a timeless wardrobe that takes advantage of its wearer’s individuality.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

The memories from the past experiences, the imagination of the present and the future are all sources of inspiration to me. In particular, I am often influenced by the people I interact with, their thoughts, their mind, and spirit. When creating a new garment, I think not only in terms of its design and the way it should look, but also the meaning of the message I want to convey through that garment. I spend the longest time on the idea before creating a garment. In Japan, we believe there are eight million gods in the world, governing nature in all of their forms, making us cherish all the things around us. When designing a new piece, it is important to think of that. Instead of forcibly creating something that does not exist, I create something of great value from something that exists. Therefore, it does not become obsolete over time and its value increases every time it is used.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

For me, it is very important to interact with customers. We deliberately propose clothes with a concept that enriches not only the appearance but also the mind. We believe that the fun of wearing, not wasting it, and proposing creations that keep you physically and mentally healthy are the forms of fashion that society will demand in the future. I think creative collaboration is the best way to communicate efficiently and influentially.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

If I could dress any woman that would be Natalie Portman, and Anne Hathaway as they opt for sustainability and eco-friendly clothes.

We have various projects underway aside from the clothing collection that we are working on. As an initiative to change social consciousness by design, there are many ways to collaborate with KoH T fashion, such as the development of special eco-bags, fabrics in collaboration with craftsmen, and projects related to beauty as well as healthy foods. All of them are original, and I am very excited to show them to the world. Also, the 2021AW project will start soon.

Photo Director: Takatsugu Kanda

I want to bring more of KoH T clothes into the world. Rather than rapidly expanding the brand, I would like to cherish the people who wear KoH T clothing and increase awareness for the brand. As a fashion brand, I hope that KoH T’s creative thinking will spread not only in Japan but throughout the world. We are currently selling our garments in Europe, and want to expand to the US. I also want to collaborate with artists and creators from all over the world. We are familiar with traditional Japanese techniques, craftsmen, and technology, so I think that collaborating with people from all over the world will result in interesting creations. For example, if you are interested in lacquer, Kumiko, dyeing, calligraphy, food, and crafts, please contact us. We will continue to fill the unique value when we learn about the thoughts and commitments, we put into manufacturing one by one. Our purpose is to increase the awareness of ethical and sustainable clothing by utilizing eco-friendly fabrics for a better world.

Veronica Minci

"Everything that is real was imagined first."

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