KLASICA Designer Interview Vol.2

What's the secret of KLASICA?
Emerge from the brand's history,the stance of ,making clothes.


A designer interview that focuses on the creator's thoughts and approaches the back side of creation. This time, from KLASICA, which is handled at ANNASTESIA Nagoya shop, we are interviewing the designer Mr Kohei Kawamura for his time to conduct a three-part interview.

In this second session, we talked about Mr. Kawamura's stance on clothing production, which he values, as well as looking back on his brand history.


Based in Tokyo, this brand has been creating products since 2006 with the vision of "wanting to create a style rather than fashion.".

It features a mix of elements such as vintage wear from all over the world, mode fashion that represents each era, art, and various genres, ideas, and historical backgrounds. Although it has a certain individuality, it proposes a style in which the wearer plays the leading role.



Based in FASCINATE, where she works in the store as a salesperson and also as a media editor.

The Secret of KLASICA's "Exquisite Balance"

A little twist in universality that blends in with everyday life.
KLASICA's charm lies in this exquisite moderation.From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- At the end of part 1, you talked about "valuing KLASICA's uniqueness," and I think that KLASICA's charm lies in its uniqueness, yet it is easy to match with other brands' clothes.
Is this exquisite taste on purpose?

That's right. I'm careful not to make too much assertions.

Whether you're walking through an urban area like Umeda Station in Osaka or Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, or through the mountains of Chichibu or the shrines and temples of Kyoto, my goal is to create clothes that don't stand out and fit in.

As for styling with other brands, I like vintage and mode, so I wanted to make something that suits both clothes without feeling odd.

--- In fact, there are many customers in our company who mix KLASICA well with other brands.

If there were people who like vintage clothes wear KLASICA, and people who like dark clothes by Yohji Yamamoto choose KLASICA, KLASICA clothes can stand in the middle of all these different clothes.

KLASICA uses mainly natural materials, many of which develop their own unique atmospheres over time so that each piece can be used for a long time. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- It seems to me that KLASICA originates in the fabric used. Is there anything important when you choose the fabric?

Having been looking at vintage clothes from the beginning, I don't use chemical fibers as much as possible because I like the material that gets better over time rather than deteriorating.

However, I am not completely denying the use of chemical fibers, and I believe that a certain amount of chemical fibers is necessary to enhance durability, such as 90% wool and 10% nylon.

--- Where do you get the fabric?

We work with manufacturers in Shizuoka, Gifu, Aichi, Wakayama, Okayama and other major production areas throughout Japan.

--- Do you have any standards in choosing a business partners?

It is about whether it is the person matches my sensitivity.

Fabric is as same as the clothes and there will be exhibitions.

So when look at the fabric store's standard or new samples of the products, based on the touch of the thread and the tone of the color, I can tell whether whether my preference is close to the maker or not.

"The happiest time I've ever been was when I sold my first item "KLASICA's history

The happiest moment was when he sold his first piece of clothing. He still remembers that moment. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- What made you happiest in the 15 to 16 years since the brand was launched?

It was when the first item of the remake that I made by myself was sold.

It was a very ordinary crew-neck knit of wool and cashmere with cutting, and it was remade to look completely different when worn.

There was a pair of customers and one of them said, "I really want it," but couldn't decide at first. The other said, "This kind of clothes will be branded and expensive soon, so you should buy it now. ".

I was happy enough to hear that someone wanted it, but I remember being even happier after the other one said that.

--- He thought it would be something that would be appreciated.

That's right.

In the early days of its establishment, the company may encounter unforeseen problems.

--- on the contrary, what was the most painful encounter?

When wholesale started, I couldn't gather the materials for the items I had already ordered, so I went to second-hand clothing stores in Tokyo to buy the materials.

At that time, remakes were still the main thing, so I had to buy all the old military wear, but when I went to the importer, he said, "Oh, Mr. Kawamura, we don’t have that right now!".

When I asked him, "When will it come in?", he replied, "It will take at least half a year, but I don't know if we can get it for sure.".

--- That sounds like a very stressful situation.

Trust comes first in the first transaction.

If you say "I'm sorry, we can't deliver it." to an order that you've taken the trouble to get, they'll say, "Well, that's enough.".

I thought I had to deliver it by all means, so I went around buying the materials I wanted sold to second-hand clothing stores without considering the profitability.

In order to meet the deadline, I would go to a park away from my house and put studs in my clothes all night long (laughs).

There was a time when the sewing machine suddenly broke while I was working too.

Tag formerly used. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- I heard that KLASICA consists of Mr. and Mrs. Kawamura and the staff of the FLAGSHIPSHOP at present. What kind of team was making clothes at that time?

It's almost the same as now. My wife and I started a store and a brand, we even had someone who could pull patterns join us part time during the process. That person is now independent and runs their own brand.

--- Was your wife originally a fashion person?

No, she used to be a kitchen chef. But when I started the store and the brand, I was still an employee of an apparel company, so I couldn't stay in the store forever.

So I said to her, "I rented a shop, so I would like if you could help take care of it for me ......", and it was almost like I forced her to start this business with me (laughs).

--- What a great foregone conclusion. (laughs). So that's how you've been making clothes for 15 to 16 years. What's the biggest difference between your early days and now?

From individual works to the collection as a whole. The approach to artwork creation also changed over time. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

In the early days, we only looked at objects, but now we think of objects from a bird's eye view rather than from a collection.

It went from being one thing to a big picture.

--- Is the difficulty of making things different from the difficulty of making collections?

When you're building something, all you have to do is work through the ideas you come up with.

But when you create a collection, you have to bring ideas together and sublimate them into a design.

You have to go from an idea to one more abstract stage to make a collection.

So I think the shift in the focus of clothing production from objects to collections has been quite significant in the last 15 to 16 years.

About the collection/items that Mr. Kawamura has a special attachment to.

The 2009SS collection left a lasting impression. Projecting inspiration and exuberance from what I admired. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- Do you have any collections that left a lasting impression?

This is the collection made in 2009 SS with the theme of "WANDERING".

I traveled to Morocco, which I always wanted to visit before I made this collection.

I remember making it out of seaweed because it was after I came back from seeing a lot of things that I had been longing for, starting with ethnic costumes.

I was like, "Okay, here we go!".

--- What kind of collection was it?

We have proposed a suit that combines sarouel pants made of Nori, a fastball native costume, with an orthodox tailored jacket.

I was just a bit quick to do that sort of thing. At the exhibition, I confidently said, "I think it's really cool," but the buyer said, "I'm not sure" (laughs).

However, some buyers who like COMME des GARCONS said "They have been making clothes like this for a long time. It's also interesting that Kawamura made it.".

It was a fun season with pros and cons in a good way.

The pants called GRACHT are still an impressive piece. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- KLASICA has named items as well as collections. Do you have a model you like?

It is a pair of pants called GRACHT which was made in the past.

The design was based on military pants I bought at a market in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, not knowing which country they were from.

GRACHT means canal in Dutch, but the market is also named GRACHT, and the name was taken from it.

--- What kind of pants was GRACHT?

The silhouette is wide and straight, the suspenders button and the thick and short belt loop, the back cinch and the large hip pocket on the right back, and the button fly on the front.

Rivets were not used, but bartacking was adopted.

I brought the actual fabric to a fabric store because I wanted to reproduce the texture of the pants that became the design source.

The color that was originally olive drab was worn and almost became gray.

At first I said, "I want you to reproduce this," but they said, "Even if you make a new one with the same fabric, it doesn't have the same texture.

I was wondering if I could do something about it, but they suggested that if I use the back of this fabric, I might be able to create a similar atmosphere.

As a result, I did as they suggested and finally dyed the product to create a faded look. I liked GRACHT, and after that I changed the fabric every season.

COVID-19, Sustainable and Ethical ...... What is Mr. Kawamura's stance on clothing?

A work in progress. From Instagram@malanmagli

--- With the COVID-19 pandemic, the apparel industry is undergoing a major change. Did the pandemic affect KLASICA's clothing production in any way?

In terms of the season, the influence of COVID-19 started to become big from 2021SS.

During that season, many stores around the world seemed to be shutting down, but we still had to suggest a collection.

So I decided to create a collection that would salvage the 2011 SS season, and I did it under the assumption that I was launching a new brand, KLASICA UNIFORM SERVICE, which was only available for one season, and that it would consist entirely of denim, which I had never done before. The collection was developed.

2021SS Collection「KLASICA UNIFORM SERVICE」From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- Why did you choose denim?

If it's a denim item, I thought I could match it with my previous collection or with my next collection.

It could have been the worst situation where all the items were left unsold.

--- Were the 202 -22 AW, 2022SS collection affected?

By the time I made the 2021-22 AW, I had hope that things would turn around, so I made clothes relatively as usual.

As for the 2022 SS, the exhibition that ended last summer, I had a feeling that many people will not go out so much anymore, so I was conscious of the collection that emphasizes the comfort so that you can enjoy fashion at home.

Mr. Kawamura's "ethical" approach is to not only stick to natural materials, but also to use them only if their origin is as clear as possible. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- Since the outbreak of the virus, words like sustainable and ethical have become keywords in the apparel industry. How does KLASICA respond to these words?

The brand is mainly made from natural materials, so it doesn't have a big impact on what you make. But there are small changes.

For example, a button. For men's buttons, buffalo horn buttons are said to be the best, but when I asked a button-dealer who does business with me, "How does the maker of this button secure the horn?" he said, "I don't know.".

As they are water buffalo, I think they basically use the ones from cows that are working hard for agriculture, but there is no guarantee that they are not overfished and secured as long as the truth is not known.

So now I don't use buffalo buttons, but mainly nuts and shell buttons.

--- Do you use plastic buttons?

I won't use it if I can avoid using it. However, if the natural material is not strong enough when you wash it, I may have to use it.

Also, KLASICA no longer uses the hangers used for delivery.

He says it is important to remain as lean as possible and to continue to adhere to the key words as they are in philosophy. From Instagram@klasica_kohei_kwmr

--- Why is that?

The actual time used is too short for the life of the hanger.

They are sent from the factory to us, and from there to each dealer, they are usually disposed of at that time.

It was so wasteful that I stopped using it.

It is good for the apparel industry to focus on sustainable and ethical products in terms of product life cycle.

However, if keywords become fashionable, they will disappear faster.

In order to prevent this from happening, I think it is important to stick to the key words based on philosophy.

--- That's true.

I hope the trend of the apparel industry will change.

In the next part, which will be the last one, we will get close to the source of the creation, such as Mr Kawamura's input method, and we will also hear about the 2022 SS collection, which will be delivered in January.

Mr. Kawamura, thank you for your continued support.

Next :
Source of Creation and 2022 SS COLLECTION "GLANCE"