First of all, I want to introduce today’s interviewee, Yusuke Kagari.
He is a Japanese designer of leather items, especially bags, wallets, cases, shoes, lights etc… Whatever he puts his mind to. He has lots of collections, the most populer of which is “WALL”. Now he is selling online and using a few outlets in popular Japanese department stores, he also has a shop in Hong Kong. He is a really friendly guy, with a deep knowledge of wall and strong obsessiveness in his own designs. Very unique! That’s why I am big fan!
(12.30mag) So, I am really curious about your career. How did you get into designing? After graduating how did you start working?
(YK) To be honest, I didn’t think that I wanted to be a designer when I guraduated school. After graduating, I was working and when I had free time I created leather bags. Then my friend started to sell my bags in his shop. After the sales started to become quite good I decided to persue it full time, then now I’m creating .
(12.30mag) Can you show us your favorite piece in your collection? And how often you make a new collection?
(YK) Most people think that this is the Yusuke Kagari design.
It was created in 2006, inspired by WALL and is still the best selling item. At that time, I didn’t have any knowleadge of skills or leather, that’s why it’s quite a unique design with mind boggling ideas. Nowadays I make new collections anually, but not 2014. The next one is coming soon…
Oh I see. You already have a lot of designs and design collaborations! But I still wanna know about your upcoming collection!!
By the way,
(12.30mag) How do you find your inspiration? What’s the inspiration behind your collection?
(YK) Basically it comes any time, any place and from any information.
When I’m creating new things, I just touch leather and do whatever I feel. Not thinking, just doing it. But now my style has changed a little for creating collections. Before making something I’m thinking from the start how to make it.
And also some information is my unique spice.
For example, I heard about war. When people were alive during the war they didn’t have enough food, so some people ate leather. (Actually not real) And then I got inspiration from this. How leather works when it gets mixed with water, and I tried it. This is the one which I was inspired from information.
(YK) But this means only a few people like my design, not everyone. Cos unique!
(12.30mag) I wanna know how you balance creativity with commerce? Because most designers say that the createve balance with commerce is difficult for designers. Do you think the same way? If yes, in what way do you need help? (need press more, or sale place, need help people …
(YK) I don’t wanna be rushed. I just wanna sell to people who really like my designs. My designs are not commercal items. I’m making them by hand. The important thing is that I show my ideas, my visual world, and all of the Yusuke Kagari world, if people like my ideas, I wanna connect with that person who has the same feeling.
I don’t care how good the sales are or not.
(12.30mag) When I saw your design, I thought about the use of really simple color, especially your use of a lot of white. Is it your idea or do you just like it?
(YK) Because I want the customer to make their own color by themselves. That’s why I use white quite often.
Ok, thanks!! So now I want to ask something for the benefit of students and young designers.
(12.30mag) How much would you credit the college you have studied at regarding your success?
(YK) The financial resoures credit was ¥0. But after I built my company, I wanted to make a gallery and design space which were really popular and all of the hot designers had it in 2007~2010. At that time, the financial resources credit was 150,000 yen.
(12.30mag) Do you think that people should go to Fashion school or something similar if people want to become a designer?
(YK) I don’t know, because I graduated somewhere really different to a major school. But now I’m designer. Depends on the person and depends on what you wanna do. School is not the only important thing…
(12.30mag) Do you think that you got something positive from school? Or a benefit?
(YK) Ummmm. I was happy that we had lots of different types of teachers in my school. Especially my favourite teacher who was a designer of fabric, I could feel a real designer face to face. Also I had studied from her about the textile of mind.
Thank you Yusuke Kagari!