Words Kinji Teramoto

Bienvenue chez Kinji Teramoto

Kinji Teramoto is one of the style activists who are essential to any MAN show. The founder of 35 Summers – a name regrouping many high-quality brands combining the precision of US style and the excellence of Japanese manufacturing – is a unique, yet multiple man, passionate about vintage American clothing, design and good wine. He launched the Japanese version of Anatomica in Tokyo, in the footsteps of the original store opened by Pierre Fournier in Paris, and has just inaugurated a restaurant-bar called Bistoro on the floor above the shop. Kinji is a major ambassador of good taste and good living. He took some time out of his day to talk about his passions and activities.

(This piece was featured in our SS15 magazine - september 2014)

35 summers 

First of all let me give you a bit of background on the origin of the company name. I founded the company at the age of 25. At the same time as I launched the brand, I got this idea in my head that I wanted to retire in the summer of my 60th birthday. To do so, I would need to work for 35 years. By chance I started at the age of 25, so I began a countdown to my retirement and there were 35 summers left. Hence the name of my company, 35 SUMMERS. From the very start, the idea was to create USA-influenced products using my Japanese imagination. 

French and organic wine 

The name “natural wine” alone points out how different it is from organic wine. Most of French soil is naturally organic. Winemakers have put great deal of effort into creating natural wine. Wines such as those always make me feel like I’m taking part in a meal from the past. 

The Rocky Mountain Featherbed brand 

I started sourcing 32 years ago with just one down vest in beige nylon with medium brown leather yoke. My dream then turned into becoming a brand owner. I ended up taking over from the previous brand holder in the summer of 2005. We’ve continued the heritage style line and developed new styles in order to evolve. Nowadays we have retailers in about 20 cities around the world! 

The Mighty Mac brand 

This brand was founded in 1908, in Gloucester, Massachusetts USA. Mighty Mac is one of my favorite brands, which I also took over at the same time as The Rocky Mountain Featherbed. An interesting story surrounding the brand is that there’s currently a movement calling for the Mighty Mac to be relocated back in Gloucester. The Gloucester mayor has even planned to pay us a visit this June. 

Authentic American clothing 

Finding real, authentic American clothing, even in the States, is a very difficult thing to do nowadays. I took the habit to browsing old books or catalogues to keep on sourcing material. I actually still do it, by looking at magazines from the 1920s to 1960s. I think advertising of good old American brands from that period offers a very large source of inspiration. 

The Big Yank brand 

Milton F. Goodman started his own shirt brand circa 1910. He made woven labels in a diamond shape, which were later passed down to the Big Yank brand. Around 1920 shirts produced by the brand in Chicago featured a special-shaped breast pocket for workers so as not to get their cigarettes wet. This pocket was a pioneering design which then went on to be copied by numerous makes. We hated the idea of copying this famous pocket like many others did, so we resurrected the original brand name and its original cigarette pocket. All Big Yank shirts, even those produced today, are original.

Fabrics 

We are not satisfied with simply buying the fabrics. To be precise, all the garments we sell are made in fabric for which we purchased the yarn. 

Your own collection of clothes 

I have been collecting clothes for more than 30 years. A large part of my collection was purchased as garments to study the sewing designing and coloring techniques. It’s hard to pinpoint the place and date of origin for some of the pieces, but somehow not one item in my collection is useless. I continue to collect a wide range of clothes ranging from the late 1800s to the 1960s, products which are dark blue or navy in particular. I’m currently working on a photo collection book of vintage garments for which the concept is the color Navy Blue. 

Vintage furniture 

I like the idea of engineers as architects rather than the furniture in itself. In particular, I really like the concepts and architecture of the Russian constructivism era. I’ve found that thinking of architects helps me find inspiration when I’m designing. 

What’s your favorite: France or the USA? 

What I like most in France is the culture of natural wine. What I like most about the United Sates is the unique energy and rationalism you find there. And wearing good old American-style wear made by French designers (such as Pierre, Luis and Alan, who are all my friends living in Paris) is a particular favorite. 

Anatomica and Pierre Fournier 

First of all ANATOMICA is my UTOPIA. Anatomica is a small retail store, and my lifelong goal is to pass it on to posterity. Pierre is a man I met through fate. Pierre is also someone I’ve learned a lot from, a good friend I can consult for advice when necessary and a business partner. The kind of relationship I have with Pierre is impossible to describe in just a word. 

The restaurant-bar you are about to open around your office in Tokyo 

The BISTORO, which opens this month, is located on the 2nd floor in the same building as Anatomica in Tokyo. They sell natural wine and you can also eat food there. It is the first step of my plan for Utopia in a small building in the East area of Tokyo. 

35summers.com

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