Ichiro Suzuki: Sartorial Supremacy - Design Bureau

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Looks from Ichiro Suzuki’s RCA Graduate Collection

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Suzuki stumbled on an old patchwork made by an elder tailor that inspired this boldly patterned collection

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Ichiro Suzuki: Sartorial Supremacy

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

By Gem Barton
Photos by Kodai

When Ichiro Suzuki arrived at London’s legendary Savile Row tailor Henry Poole & Co., he admits he was a little nervous. “When I first came here I had never known any Japanese cutter at Savile Row, and English people dominate most of the cutters’ positions, so I must say I was extremely lucky to have a job,” Suzuki says. “I am quite conservative myself so I do enjoy using old traditional methods.” We ask the London College of Fashion grad about his own designs, which are anything but “old” and “traditional.”

GB: Where does your interest in fine tailoring come from?
Ichiro Suzuki: My first memory of fashion was that I used to spend money on designer clothes and wear suits with the tag left on the sleeve, so I can show people what I could afford to buy. I was so vain and shallow back then. All those designers’ clothes became worn out pretty quickly and I realized they were not very well made: That was the starting point for me and made me want to know how clothes are engineered, the structure of the garments. My hobby became a bit extreme. 

GB: Geometry is a key foundation for your work—can you explain why?
IS: I love the illusion that the patterns can create; some look 3-D but they are actually 2-D and vice versa. The main inspiration is a patchwork that I found that was covered in dust. I was mesmerized by the fact that it was made entirely by hand by an elder tailor. He was 70-something when he made it and it somehow became my inspiration for the collection.

GB: Does your Japanese heritage inform your style?
IS: I do not think there is a lot of Japanese influence in my work. I used to avoid anything that had a connotation of Japanese-ness and tried not to allow it to come into my design, which I reckon some people would not agree with. I used to hate Japanese designers using kimono material to make normal garments. I use tartan, tweed, and men’s suiting a lot. I interpret and use them in my own way and that is because I am not Scottish or English. How I understand and revitalize them is important and different to European designers. To some extent, there is still Japanese quirkiness and idiosyncrasy in my design.

Ichiro’s Firsts & Favorites

Favorite designer? 
Alexander McQueen and Aitor Throup

First item of clothing you ever bought? 
Levi’s jeans. “Bought when I was 14, and I still have them!”

First item of clothing you ever made?
A pair of tailored trousers at age 25 

Favorite material to work with?
Fine worsted

Favorite music to listen to whilst creating?
“Paranoid” by Black Sabbath and “Perry Mason” by Ozzy Osbourne

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