ONEEIGHTNINE catches up with Takuji Suzuki of Japanese workwear-inspired brand ts(s) in a short interview. Detailing his background and insight into the brand, the interview offers some interesting topics including his disdain for a highly valued Japanese Yen and his relationship with his brother, Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments. Some select questions and answers are offered below while the full interview can be seen here.
Looking into the origins of the label, can you explain a little about the meaning and concept behind your label ts(s)?
On the base of unique traditional style with a contemporary interpretation, the line-up is constituted with adapting the styles of Work, Military, Sport and so on.
Basic and Evolution
Standard and Mode
Casual and Formal
In between the factors above, ts(s) aims to have it’s own balance and stance of “creation” which is ever existed but never “existed” and an “unpredictableness with dignity”. We are particular in our colours and patterns, and conduct a unique blend in the way of adopting materials.
How does ts(s) differ from when it was first setup, would you say that anything has changed over time? For example the direction of the brand.
Basically, I think that my way of looking and my way of thinking are complete, so nothing has really changed. However, as things which I am interested in inspire me, my creation will end up looking different from time to time.
We’ve seen a massive swing in menswear over the last few years, especially in Japan where the workwear market is really prominent. Do you think people are more willing to invest in products that are well made and well designed?
In Japan, there’s a big market for workwear related products, which includes the denim-wear as core, and it’s been maturing for long time to get up to this point. And I think that it became a kind of world phenomenon so that the scene in Japan is really prominent since it’s more mature than other countries. People have a sense of value and quality. Therefore, some will find they sway more toward a certain thing and others won’t.
On the other hand, I don’t appreciate the influence of currency on the value. Nowadays, the yen is too strong to make its value proper due to the currency situation.
Do you ever share ideas with your brother and founder of Engineered Garments, Daiki Suzuki? Did you influence each other whilst growing up?
There no concrete sharing. I don’t know if I have inspired him or not, but he has been inspiring me. We have both been clothing maniacs ever since I can remember and kind of congenial pals as well as brothers. We very much understand each other in which point of design he or I are good at and that we have different approach. Therefore, 80% of our conversation is about garments.