Time to brighten up a busy life. Items to support the stylist’s daily routine.
Koto Clothing representative/stylistMr. Shogo Hesaka
Symbolizing diligence and humility,
the Glenroyal book cover.
Stylist Mr. Hesaka is active across magazines, advertising, and film media. Surprisingly, his former employment was audio director for a TV program. As he has always travelled a lot, it is in just such a lifestyle that reading time is essential. We asked Shogo about his encounter with a book cover, his precious moments he has for reading, and a favourite author.
The impact movies had on my roots
━You said “stylist,” and the word encompasses various types of work. What do you feel is particularly motivating about your work?
For me it’s the movies. You dress an actor to portray a sense of reality about their character’s lifestyle; it’s not just a case of making the clothes you chose for them stand out. So, you have to use your imagination a lot more than people might think. For example, if a movie critic commented that the “costumes were good,” and what you really wanted to do was just make the most of the characters and prioritize ways to draw out their attractiveness, it’s likely the moviemaker will think “Oh, so their eyes just went to the clothes…”
I’ve loved movies since my early days, even before I became a stylist, when I used to work in video. In particular, I love the films of director Yasujiro Ozu, for how the positions of everyday things are precisely calculated in his work. I think this preoccupation with positioning also shows in the suits, kimonos and other costumes selected for his films as well. Since he had also originally been a cameraman, his methods of composition are fabulous. The entire film as a whole would always be good, but his individual scenes are also beautiful as stills.
His films also take a long time to shoot, and he only makes about one a year. Recently, I’ve been challenged by getting commercial work that must all be wrapped up in a short time; I’m doing the conceptual work for the actor’s personal styling needs.
“Words” are an important element
━Is there something you do every day in order to broaden the range of your styling skills?
I often think about styling starting from a “word.” For example, “cool” is a very ambiguous word. Unless I can properly digest the theme, it is difficult to reflect a feel in styling. In that sense, there is a great deal to learn from movies and books. My aim is to watch a movie a day, but last year though, I was only able to watch about 200… Recently, I have had the opportunity to write articles for work, and my commutes are also sometimes long, so now I probably read more books. I am especially fond of reading Shouzo Izuishi’s works. One way that I search for books is by a kind of chain-link method of reading works by authors I am interested in and then reading the works that inspired them. Sometimes I purchase photo collections that also become valuable materials for me. I not only want to gain knowledge, but I enjoy passing time without any stress and rejuvenate my spirit by simply reading a book.
Book covers project diligence and humility
━Tell us how you came across Glenroyal.
Before I was a stylist, I was working as an audio director on a TV show. Anyway, I had a lot of travel time in that line of work, and I took advantage of time on the road by reading books. At the time, I was too shy to let those around me know which book I was reading, so I was looking for a book cover. I didn’t want to give the impression “that guy is studying” (he laughs). In part this was due to the influence of someone I was strongly attracted to, but I was obsessed with looking for a sturdy British book cover, and at last I found this one. At that time, there were not many simple, British-made book covers. And it’s now been 9 years since I started using it. It is also available in a pocket paperback size, so I felt how seriously the craftsmen really consider the convenience of anyone who will use the item. If the craftspeople didn’t like and understand books, I don’t think they’d even be making the pocket paperback size.
I like things that have universal appeal.
━Do you have any criteria you are committed to when selecting items for yourself?
I always consider whether I will be wearing it in 10 years time. In recent years, I am much less likely to make impulse buys. Based on my experience, I no longer try to get the types of things that I imagine I can use in a pinch when something else just doesn’t come together, as in, “I think I could get it to look like that if I wear this item.” Since it’s my job to clothe people, there are cases in which I buy things just to try them out. This holds for books, too: when I was young, I was in turmoil because I had such strong feelings about wanting to choose “something different from other people.” But the older I get, I am often struck once again by the charm of works loved by many people over many years. I mark with sticky notes some of my favourite passages in books that I want to remember, often rereading them several times over. I also like to watch movies that I have already seen on a regular basis. Something that does not change in value over a long time is very appealing to me. It may be indicative of something that I think is my own impression of a universal value inherent in British manufacturing.
Valuable time to rediscover yourself.
━What do you do to take care of your Glenroyal items?
I take maintaining my leather goods seriously. I do my own ironing while listening to music, and I also like to spend time polishing my shoes. I think time taken to keep my leather goods in good condition is similar to the time I use to cook. When you think only of making something that will taste good, it’s a good opportunity to empty your head. With clothes and the like, usually you don’t have time to examine things any more closely than just thinking, “there’s a mark right here.” If you use something made of leather, of course it will get stained, and I think taking the time to inspect such things is important. Saying you’re busy as an excuse will tend to make you neglect taking time for self-reflection. I also sometimes take leather goods to the store and have them polished. People fall into factions regarding how to care for leather, and even for polishing, there are a variety of schools of thought and feelings on the subject, so I am always learning.
easing the opportunities to think about clothing
━Is there something that you want to communicate through your work as a stylist?
I always put what I think is appropriate dress for the occasion above any other consideration. I take the occassion fully into consideration and accentuate some parts and pull back from others to compose an overall style within what’s appropriate. It is truly an honour to be able to help an actor so that they can perform on stage with confidence. I think clothes only develop personality by being worn by a person in reality. Of course, I am also attracted by the sheer enjoyment of clothes alone. To achieve a balance between both is a very important thing in life.
For example, I don’t like belts, so I use braces myself. The reason is that cinching a belt to prevent trousers from falling as they shift on the waist ends up creating unsightly wrinkles. Similarly, I don’t like the so-called four-in-hand tie either, so I use scarves, Ascot ties, and bow ties almost exclusively. People may call me conservative, but I think it is one way to think about how to dress in menswear. It is difficult to convey everything by what you wear. But wouldn’t the ability to freely manipulate what you wear, just as you do your hands and feet, be a great means of conveying what you want to say?
photoTRYOUT textK-suke Matsuda
Koto Clothing representative/stylist
Mr. Shogo Hesaka
Born in 1985. Employed at Shochiku Kyoto studio and worked in program production at TV Asahi before becoming a stylist in 2011. In 2015, Shogo established his own company, Koto Costume (http://www.koto-clothing.com). Active in multiple fields, including styling for movies, commercials, magazines and actors, as well as planning for various media, direction of creative work, and writing. His writing is currently published in Stories on the website British Made. Hesaka is currently recruiting for a stylist assistant.
photoTRYOUT textK-suke Matsuda