Tamanegi studio's Takayuki Kawazoe creates a lot of Japanese patterned aloha shirts marked all bearing the mark of strong individuality. Why did you start to make aloha shirts?
I liked aloha patterns from old times, and there was a period when I collected aloha shirts. But I was quite poor then so bought mostly used ones. Mainly, I went to the specialized American army surplus stores and flea markets at the American bases to search for American soldiers' used aloha shirts.
At the same time, I was doing a part-time job at a kimono shop in product management for a short time, and I noticed the similarity between kimono and aloha shirts. Then I found the root of aloha shirts which was the Japanese immigrants' kimono shirts. That was more than 20 years ago when there was no Internet and no specialized guidebooks.
What are the aloha shirts' attractions for Takayuki Kawazoe who has favored aloha shirts for more than 20 years?
From the beginning, I didn't like to wear the same clothes as the other people wore, and I also didn't like ties and suits which, to me, represent company slaves. So I think aloha shirts with open-necks and patterns represent a freedom which doesn't submit to authority. The attraction that touches our Japanese hearts is the fact that the original aloha shirts were made by Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. Not many people know that what is common Hawaian formal wear now has a history of deep Japanese culture behind it.
Well, can you tell me about your future developments?
Another reason that made me start producing aloha shirts is to stop the "decline of traditional industry". There were many Japanese who challenged the world during the Meiji/Taisho period. Aloha shirts were created by those people leading difficult lives, and have established a stable position in clothing history, and I felt irritating, thinking, "Why don't Japanese clothing industry people pay attention to them?" So I took the lead and began making these products. Because of that, when I am quoted in the media and make claims about these things, many wholesale dealers, dyeing stores, and apparal tradesmen start dealing in aloha shirts, and I feel good as the person who started it.
From now on, I would like more and more people to know the potential of yuzen aloha shirts, and feel the merit of it. For that, I plan to use the materials that fit a modern life style, and that are easy to take care of. I would like to introduce yuzen aloha shirts of course in Japan, but also to abroad in the future. Of course, I won't change the policy of limited number and limited quantity of the various kinds. I'm a very changable person. I might stop making aloha shirts one day, so purchasing and ordering should be made soon.
Ligne de produits "Tmanégi Kôbô"