The Japanese fashion industry is the most popular in the world, with many of its brands attracting millions of visitors.
But there’s a certain amount of exclusivity to its artisanship that’s hard to ignore.
Take for instance a man named Kazuhiko Kawai, who founded his own fashion label, Tokyo Fashion.
But the fashion giant’s namesake, Kawai Shiraishi, who is also known as the “Father of Japanese Fashion”, is more known for his works in Japan’s traditional clothing sector, a key element of his brand’s success.
Kawai, a former fashion designer for T-shirt brands KFC and Shion, was an avid fan of the Japanese craftsmanship of his native Japan, and said he wanted to help bring that to the global market.
“I wanted to bring Japanese clothes and crafts back to the world,” Kawai said.
But in an industry where many Japanese fashion designers have found success in their native countries, he had a few qualms about what might come next.
“As a designer, I don’t really like exclusivity,” he said.
“It’s like a secret ingredient, it just gets lost.”
When you make something for a client, you just have to say ‘I’ll make it if you give me your money, or whatever’,” he said, adding he wouldn’t “go near” anything without getting it right.”
If I make a new jacket, I’m really confident it’ll make its way to your hands, but if I make it for myself and then leave it there for 10 years, it’ll look really ugly.
“So I think it’s better to create a brand where you don’t need to rely on someone else’s product.”
But that didn’t stop Kawai from making his first Japanese-made garment, a simple denim jacket.
In 2009, he launched his second fashion label.
This time, his goal was more ambitious, and his first attempt was a denim jacket, which is made from a combination of raw denim and linen.
The product didn’t impress the public, but Kawai has since released more suits, coats and jeans.
He has been making garments for a long time, but in 2015 he announced he was going to expand the line, launching his own line of denim jackets, which he describes as “the only Japanese- made product”.
“We’re really proud of our denim jackets,” Kawaras said.
“When we launched our denim jacket line, there were a lot of people that were asking about our brand, so we were very happy.”
He added that he was still experimenting with different designs, and wanted to try to be a little bit more daring.
“We want to create something unique.
I don, like, make everything for myself, and that’s what we want to be.”
What we’re trying to do is make something that’s not too similar to the rest of the world.
We want to make something with the Japanese traditions, and a Japanese look.
“It’s not just Kawai who has found success abroad.
The Japanese fashion community has been pushing back on fashion companies who don’t share its traditional values, with Kawai even receiving a letter of support from the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2015.
But while many Japanese designers have expressed frustration over their perceived lack of recognition from the fashion industry, Kawayas hopes that Japanese-style consumers will see the value in his designs.”
This is a huge opportunity for Japanese fashion to become more mainstream, to become the fashion of the future,” he told Al Jazeera.”
A lot of Japanese people don’t have access to Japanese-Made fashion.
But this is something I’m very passionate about.
“Watch the video above to learn more about Kawai’s work in Japan.