Robb Interview: Yasuto Kamoshita

The menswear titan on nonchalant style and the calm of jazz music.

By Kareem Rashed 30/03/2021

As the creative adviser of United Arrows, Japan’s largest multi-brand store, Yasuto Kamoshita is a fashion lodestar for countless Japanese shoppers. And as one of the most photographed characters on the international menswear circuit, he has an influence that extends around the globe. He’s been on the cutting edge of cool since his school days, as an early adopter of Ivy style while growing up in Tokyo. After studying interior design, he ended up taking a job on the sales floor at Beams, at the time Japan’s biggest fashion purveyor.

His innate style got him promoted to buyer and then designer of the store’s in-house brand. After eight years, he left to co-found United Arrows, overseeing all things aesthetic, from product design to store interiors. In 2007, he started his own label, Camoshita. Synthesizing American prep and Italian tailoring with a Japanese eye for subtlety, it’s a collection as nuanced as Kamoshita himself.

What have you done recently for the first time?

Staying home for two months.

What apps do you use the most?

Instagram. I post much less than I used to. There’s so much on Instagram now, I feel tired.

First thing you do in the morning?

Make breakfast for the family—an ideal husband! I usually make sandwiches, toast… but the fancy way.

What do you do that’s still analog?

Myself. I like to use my hands to make something: drawing, writing.

What in your wardrobe do you wear most often?

Double-breasted suits, from Camoshita or Italian sartorias.

Do you have a uniform for certain occasions?

Double-breasted navy suits for work. Even when I’m dressing casually, I don’t like to be too casual. I want to be cool, clean, effortless.

Kamoshita’s collection of vintage hankerchiefs.

Favourite websites?

I always read the newspaper online— The Nikkei and The Business of Fashion.

How do you find calm?

I light incense and listen to music—jazz mostly, bossa nova.

Who is your guru?

Mr. Shigematsu, the chairman of United Arrows and my mentor.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Mr. Shigematsu told me, “You must be conscious of the movements in the world.”

What’s your favourite cocktail?

Chilled gin with lime. There are so many gins. I like to choose different ones for different occasions, but my standard is Kingsbury Victorian Vat.

What’s the most recent thing you’ve added to your collection?

A set of Italian midcentury dining chairs, unsigned.

What’s the most recent thing you regret not buying?

A painting I found at Clignancourt, a very beautiful landscape, I think by an American painter.

Who is your dealer, and what do they source for you?

My longtime friend in Como, Italy, who always finds me the most beautiful fabrics. And Charvet, for my shirts. I always wear Charvet shirts.

What does success look like to you?

It’s not money. It’s not things. I think it’s just living a happy life.

What’s the most impressive dish you cook?

Mapo tofu.

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

Acoustic guitar.

How much do you trust your gut instinct?

If I think something’s cool, I follow that instinct. And if it turns out that I’m wrong, I don’t have any regrets about it.

Where do you buy your clothes?

I shop everywhere: flea markets, big stores like Bergdorf Goodman, small shops, Uniqlo. I don’t care if it’s expensive or cheap. If I like it, I buy it.

Drive or be driven?

I drive.

Are you wearing a watch? How many do you own?

Not right now. I’m not a collector, but I have six or seven.

When was the last time you completely unplugged?

I’m always carrying my phone, so I’m never really unplugged. But every summer I go camping by the riverside, about two hours outside Tokyo.

How would you describe your look?

It’s so hard to describe it myself, but others have talked about nonchalance, effortless elegance. I don’t like to be too cool or too “gentleman”.

What’s your favourite hotel?

My favourites are in Tokyo: the Hotel Okura, which was just renovated last year, the Hoshinoya and the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku.

What’s the last piece of advice you gave?

Be quality-conscious.

Last piece of advice you were given?

I always give advice to others, but nobody gives advice to me.

What’s always in your hand luggage?

I don’t like to take hand luggage. I try to carry nothing. But I like to have earphones, so I can listen to music.

What is the car you are most attached to?

My Mini Cooper. I drive it every day.

What is worth paying for?

Things for your home. I buy these ceramic objects. Even if they’re not worth anything, I find value in them.

Last box set or Netflix binge?

Peaky Blinders.

Bowie or Dylan?

Dylan.

This piece is from our new Autumn Issue – on sale now. Get your copy or subscribe here, or stay up to speed with the Robb Report weekly newsletter.

 

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