New for this season is CASH CA which has just landed at the Great Divide store. Post-New's James Oliver sat down with head designer Kazuki Kuraishi to introduce the brand and the concept behind his takeover.
"Kazuki Kuraishi is an individual with the ability to apply his critique in a way that redefines a brand. Having worked with the likes of A Bathing Ape, adidas and fragment design, Kazuki has been able to reinvent UK label CASH CA in compelling fashion. Telling to his distinctive aesthetic, which thrives from layering I sat down with the Japanese designer about how he has been able to combine the core values of the brand and make it his own.
James Oliver: Can you tell us a bit about your background, where have you worked and how you fell into working at CASH CA?
Kazuki Kuraishi: I studied graphic design in New York and it was really the place, everything was happening at the time. When I was 23 people like Tetsu Nishiyama from WTAPS, Sk8thing, NIGO were all beginning to make moves. When A Bathing Ape was first beginning, NIGO asked me to do the graphic design for him and while I was at A Bathing Ape I started designing clothing as well.
After studying in New York, I had planned to go and work for NEIGHBORHOOD with my cousin Shinsuke Takizawa but he actually recommended that I should start out somewhere else, without the family connection so I could be more independent. Now looking back, I really appreciate that advice because if I had started to work for NEIGHBORHOOD I think I would have ended up working there all my life, and not had the opportunity to explore working with other brands and people.
When I was working at BAPE, we worked with adidas UK and the team there have had a lot of influence on me. We worked together on an adidas Superstar, something I worked on very closely with Gary Aspden at adidas UK. It was a good experience for me because the term 'collaboration' was not used so much in 2002, and working in that context was very rare so the concept and design was very fresh at the time. After working with adidas on the Superstar, A Bathing Ape moved into direction of hip-hop and started working with Pharrell Williams. Nothing against hip-hop but I felt it was a good time to move on. And it happened so that the adidas headquarter offered me a position as a creative product manager, this all happened in 2004.
Shortly after when I left BAPE, I met Hiroshi Fujiwara and he asked me if I wanted to work together at his office, fragment design. Hiroshi influenced me to be involved in various projects, and not to be exclusive to one project or a brand. This is a method I picked up from Hiroshi because it’s a good way to have variation with my work.
JO: How has your style and approach evolved and developed since you first starting designing?
KK: CASH CA has really changed my approach, and design style aspect as well because they put more attention to the detail of clothing. I understand more and appreciate the process of making clothes, sometime we even make garments from scratch. I also visit factories more often now to understand the process and that way I keep more interested in designing the clothing.
Before, I would just come up with the design, but now I am fully involved and much more serious in every aspect of making clothing, which all started since beginning working with CASH CA.
JO: How do you apply your own design ethos to CASH CA? How does your line compare and differ from the UK line?
KK: The relationship I have with CASH CA, I have complete trust and control over the design process of the men’s collection. Initially CASH CA was only a knitwear brand in UK and while that still continues, I am responsible for creating and making it into a men’s collection line. My design ethos applies to CASH CA’s for its UK element that I always like. Also CASH CA is known for its craftsmanship and devotion to knitwear. The passion and seriousness of knitwear and cloth making is something both CASH CA and I work very well together. It is not too difficult to apply my design ethos to CASH CA’s men’s line because our taste is similar; we like the UK influences of simplicity, high-level of craftsmanship and quality.
JO: What are your plans for the future of CASH CA? How do you want the line to grow and develop?
KK: Direction wise, I want a more mature audience to wear CASH CA and it doesn't necessarily have to be completely co-ordinated customers can buy one item as long as they really enjoy the garment because this is what gives me the most satisfaction.
Even for business men, instead of buying from a standard and commercial suit company, I would love for men to find CASH CA and wear it for the comfort. The fabric that we focus on at CASH CA, a wool/jersey blend so is custom tailored style.
We put so much effort in detailing, functionality and how the fabric touches to the skin. Ultimately I would love to make bespoke suits like on Savile Row and be able to measure each customer but for CASH CA."
Read the full interview over at Post-New.