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Photo by Daniel Sannwald

Akira Naka (Tokyo, Japan)

The Japanese master of tailoring discuss design influences, family and life at Antwerp's legendary fashion school

Akira Naka's love of fashion started at an early age when he bumped into and got to know a tailor while living in the US. The friendship must have made a deep sartorial impression on Naka since he today is best known for his tailored garments and knitwear with deep European influences. Naka perfected his knitting skills in Antwerp before going back to Japan in 2006 and start his own label. This season he brings textures and fitted tailored pieces in black shades combined with the edgy look of the washed out denim. Dazed Digital took his pulse at his home in Japan...

DD: How old are you and where do you live?
Akira Naka: I'm 36 and I live in a small town in Japan you've never heard of.

DD: What's the concept behind your new collection?
Akira Naka: Theme of the new collection is "Feminine", I feel the feminity stronger when the women wear masculine items.

DD: Where do you seek inspiration?
Akira Naka: In the various attitudes of women

DD:Why womenswear?
Akira Naka: I will never understand them perfectly since I'm a man. So making womenswear is a charade that has no end, and I respect them very much.

DD: Tell us about the project you made together with Shiseido and photographer Daniel Sannwald.
Akira Naka: We met at the Antwerp Academy when we were students, his work was already special back then, and working with him is always so fun and so fresh. This time, I found him as creative as before and I'm impressed  about it, because being professional sometimes makes people choose something safe,
but he didn't do that

DD: How do you see Tokyo and the new Japanese designers now?
Akira Naka: People in Tokyo are still aggressive, I believe. I feel there should be much more foreign designers in Tokyo.

DD: Where can we buy your collection and see more of your work?
Akira Naka: Isetan in Tokyo, Ra in Antwerp, Hu's wear in NYC.

DD: With whom you would like to collaborate?
Akira Naka: Thom Yorke

DD: What makes you happy?
Akira Naka: My little daughter.

DD: You collaborated with  in the past with a big fashion house in  
paris, tell us about it?
Akira Naka: The L.V.project was in collaboration with class mates. We visited them and I met professionals in their house and realised what professional work means.

DD: Who is your favorite designer and why?
Akira Naka: Walter Van Beirendonck. I respect his creative attitude. I believe he is the designer who knows the importance of creativity more than anyone.

DD:When and why did you move to Antwerp
Akira Naka: I lived there 2002-2006 as a student at the Academy. I found the city very comfortable and I want to go back someday.

DD: What are your plans for the future?
Akira Naka: I want to have some more kids maybe...