For The Discerning Few: Could you please tell us about your background?
Yasuto Kamoshita: I am from Tokyo. I graduated from the Tama Art University. I then worked for Beams where I had experiences in sales and as a buyer. I was one of the founders of United Arrows in 1989. I have been a buyer for the men’s department and I was in charge of the visuals. I am now Creative Director of the company.
For The Discerning Few: When did you start being interested in the way you dressed?
Yasuto Kamoshita: I developed an interest in fashion and in the way I dressed when I was in high school. And even though I studied architecture at the University, I then turned to fashion.
For The Discerning Few: How would you describe your personal style?
Yasuto Kamoshita: I was born in 1958 so I would describe my style as American inspired. As a matter of fact, the Ivy League style was very popular during my youth. Moreover, my taste is quite “classic”. I like a tailored look but I don’t want it to be restrictive, I like it to be relaxed, I don’t take it too seriously.
For The Discerning Few: When was the brand Camoshita United Arrows created? What was your ambition at the time?
Yasuto Kamoshita: Camoshita United Arrows was created in 2007. The concept was pretty simple; to create a brand which was about the Japanese way of getting dressed.
For The Discerning Few: Could you talk to us about the new collection you have designed for your brand Camoshita United Arrows which you recently presented at the last Pitti Uomo?
Yasuto Kamoshita: This new collection of Camoshita United Arrows is dressy, it mostly features tailored items. It aims at introducing people to what I would call Japanese Dandysm. Americans and Europeans have great culture and traditions regarding tailored clothing, however I believe that Japan also has a tailoring tradition which people will hopefully get to know through this collection.
For The Discerning Few: Japan has developed into the number 1 market regarding menswear and fashion in general. How would you explain it?
Yasuto Kamoshita: It is hard to explain. My guess is that we Japanese people are quick learners. Once we learn something we like to enhance it and develop it. As far as tailored clothes are concerned, many Japanese people are great admirers of the classic American style and of European tailoring, they have learned a lot from it. We tend to have an eye for details which also helps.
For The Discerning Few: You are a specialist of the Ivy League style. Could you please explain the difference between Ivy and Preppy?
Yasuto Kamoshita: It is mostly a difference of period. The Ivy League style was developed in the 1960’s before the Vietnam War whereas the Preppy movement appeared after the Vietnam War.
In fact, the Ivy League style was based on American Brands such as J.Press, Gant and Brooks Brothers. Then with the Hippy movement the Ivy League style was mixed with some European brands; in the 1980’s it resulted in the Preppy Movement.
Furthermore, Preppy style is more dressed down than the traditional Ivy League style which was more about time, place and occasion.
Preppy style is also a lot more colorful than Ivy style which is mostly about Navy, Grey and Brown.
For The Discerning Few: What do you think about the way French Men dress nowadays?
Yasuto Kamoshita: Nowadays? I think nothing of it. However French men used to dress well in the 1960’s which I think was the best period as far as French style is concerned. You can witness it in Le Samouraï with Alain Delon.
For The Discerning Few: Do you have any style icons?
Yasuto Kamoshita: I would say that Fred Astaire was definitely one of them. I could also name Steve McQueen, Jean-Paul Belmondo or Serge Gainsbourg. I think it’s good to be inspired by people with different backgrounds and from different periods. You pick up things from them and adapt those things to your character. That is how you create your own style. In order to be stylish, one should not be a copy of somebody; you have to be inspired by different sources.
For The Discerning Few: What are the shops and places you like to visit when you come to Paris?
For The Discerning Few: What advice would you give to a young man trying to develop his own style?
Yasuto Kamoshita: Do not restrict yourself to fashion and menswear. Try to appreciate the beautiful things in life. Be curious, grab knowledge from all sources. Go further.
For The Discerning Few would like to thank Yasuto Kamoshita for his availability, his knowledge and his kindness.
We would also like to thank Beatrice Kim.
This interview was conducted by Pierre-Antoine LEVY & Virgile MERCIER for For The Discerning Few with the crucial help of our Japanese translator Yumiko Kaneko. Paris, January 2012. All rights reserved.