Interview & Report



beautiful people

Born in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from the Apparel Design Technique Course at the Fashion Technology Department of Bunka Fashion College in 1996, he worked as a patterner at Comme des Garçons Homme. In 2004, he founded entertainment Ltd., an outsourcing pattern company. In the spring/summer of 2007, he launched the original brand “beautiful people.”

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beautiful people is a brand popular for its smart, Tokyo-like style. The line-up of items tickle your inner fashion spirit regardless of age or taste—whether you’re an adult or child, a fashionista or prefer the traditional/casual look. It is indeed a fashion democracy. We interviewed designer Hidenori Kumakiri, whose creations will be showcased on the first day of Japan Fashion Week.

What made you decide to become a designer?

Kumakiri:My parents were in the knitting business. My mom is a knitting teacher, so I grew up surrounded by fashion, but I wasn’t too interested in working in fashion at that time. I applied to college, failed my entrance exams the first year, and the day after the entrance exams the next year, I was thinking that I’d probably failed again, when my mother brought me an application brochure for Bunka (Fashion College). She probably thought that I’d fail too. Entering Bunka College on the recommendation of my parents led me to become involved in fashion.

After graduating, you worked as a patterner for a popular brand, then founded your own company and launched the brand “beautiful people”.

Kumakiri:When I launched the brand, I was hoping to create a new attitude or new values that didn’t exist yet. This may seem over-the-top, but I hoped that I could improve society. When I say “new,” I mean something that no one noticed before, rather than something that did not exist.

Where did the name of your brand “beautiful people” come from?

Kumakiri:The name just came to me. When I looked up the term “beautiful people” later, I found that it also means “celebrities” or “people that make fashion,” which made me like the name even more. I thought that it would be fun and interesting to have a brand name that means “celebrity,” even though we the designers are ordinary people.

If you were to sum up your creations in one sentence?

Kumakiri:I create my clothes hoping that they provide a new stimulating experience for people. For instance, for our kids’ line, which we’ve been producing ever since our debut, we create adult clothes in children’s sizes. They look so small that no one would believe that the clothes would fit, but the pattern techniques actually allow them to fit. At the beginning, the clothes were really small. The current sample size for the kids’ line is 140cm, so it looks somehow wearable, but the sample sizes at the time of our debut were all 120cm. These were sizes for six to seven year olds, so people were surprised. We value this sense of humor and surprise.


What was your debut collection like?

Kumakiri:We made military items using 100% silk chiffon fabric, made what people call “vintage denim” with the details all replaced by embroidery… we did many different things, but they all lead to what we’re doing now. We brought together haute-couture embroidery with the definitive casual material of denim; military and silk chiffon; adult and children’s styles—we did things following our concept of bringing together things at opposite extremes.

What is the source of your inspiration?

Kumakiri:Daily life. Recently, I tweet about things that I come up with in my daily life. (→ @h_kumakiri). I’ve come up with quite a lot of material to work with! (Laughs) I’m not the type to look at magazines, books, or past material for inspiration. I suddenly come up with things in the course of my daily life. Take the T-shirt that plays with the typography of the “KOOL” cigarettes, for example. If you wear a jacket on top of the T-shirt and the two sides are hidden, the overlapping “OO” at the center looks like the logo of a certain famous brand. This was something that came to me when I looked at a cigarette vending machine while just walking around. I am conscious of the fact that this is a brand made by a person living in Tokyo. Although the range of my activities is narrow; limited to Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills and Meiji Dori…

「Maison BO-M」

What Tokyo brands are you interested in?

Kumakiri:White Mountaineering, a men’s brand produced by my former colleague. Apparently the brand was recently accepted by an agency that handles the press for Marc Jacobs in NY. We tell each other “you’re keeping busy!”
In terms of non-fashion-related things, I am currently keeping an eye on the architect Junya Ishigami. He won a Golden Lion at the architecture exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, and he’s actually my high-school classmate. His extremely avant-garde and poetic style is the complete opposite of my pop-culture style, but he makes me want to emulate his style.


Is there anything you are hooked on recently?

Kumakiri:If it’s not work-related, maybe Tamachi…I often go there for work, but I like salarymen towns. You can get some good abura soba (soupless ramen) there. I also like ferries. There’s a ferry landing in front of the Onward Kashiyama offices in Shibaura, and if you get on the ferry at about 5:30 PM, there’s a beautiful sunset.

So, what do fashion shows mean for “beautiful people” ?

Kumakiri:Giving back to our customers. This time, rather than the usual runway show, we are planning an event at a public venue where models pose on the first floor and first basement level floor in Midtown. We will hand out maps to customers, and they can go freely to where the models are gathered. This way, it will not matter how many people come, and we can have our collection seen by even more of our customers. Our collection will be modeled on the first day, so we will also be able to appeal Fashion Week to the general public. We plan to give novelty gifts to visitors with invitations.

Can you tell us a bit about your latest collection?

Kumakiri:We are thinking of a theme around the coined term “take it ivy.” Using Ivy League fashion as the theme may seem clichéd, but this time, I feel confident that we can use this term, the reason being that the collection isn’t “Ivy” at all. (Laughs) The collection is influenced by the Ivy League look, but does not look “Ivy”. We want to show you our definition of the new preppy look.


The last fall-winter collection had a fun twist where the patterns of the fabric popped up when seen through 3D glasses; are there any surprises for the new collection?

Kumakiri:This time, we may not have as big a twist as 3D, but we have done some minor things. Just as it was with the 3D, we are always trying to appeal to our customers and make people laugh. After all, our company name is “entertainment”. (Laughs)


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