BEIGE: Could you start by telling us about your experience in fashion?
Kentaro Nakagomi: I began by learning about textiles at an art university before studying design and pattern making at design school. I then started my career as an in-house designer for a UK/Japanese brand. Meanwhile, I was learning sewing and cutting under the supervision of a prominent Italian tailor. After years of design management, production control, and planning experience, I launched COHÉRENCE
for the AW15 season.
B: What is the idea behind the label “Cohérence” ?
KN: It started with a simple goal. I’ve always been a huge fan of overcoats; I believe they are one of the most romantic items. Still, I could never find the perfect one in the market.
My experience taught me that only a certain level of beauty that can be achieved by an industrialized product. The bar is much higher with a handmade product full of charm. I had a plan, and I found a highly skilled factory that specializes in overcoats, which is honestly very rare. After the factory, I found the unique material required for the coat, and planned meetings here in Japan to put all the pieces together and get the ball rolling.
B: Your coats are inspired by legendary artists of the past. How do you make those coats relevant for the present?
KN: Our design references and inspirations are indeed rooted in the past, but we never do a full reproduction. We respect the past’s aesthetics, but of course need to adapt them into a contemporary item.
With regards to the material, the JERSEY TWEED
we began adopting in our first season is a good example. We source our yarn from four separate raw materials including British wool. At first glance, it looks like British tweed, but it is actually jersey, produced by a cutting-edge knitting machine in Japan. Due to the structure of the fabric, it achieves a certain look and shape comparable to a woven material, but maintains the flexibility of jersey.
In terms of cut, we research all sorts of vintage materials, combined them, and adjust the parts that don’t match. If the functionality is not up to our standards, we drop it. The result is a coat full of lightness, flexibility, and comfort. It keeps the beauty and authenticity of a tweed coat. COHÉRENCE is about the space where the romanticism of the past meets the technology of today.
B: You design all the fabrics for Cohérence. Can you explain your development process? In your mind, which comes first: the coat or the fabric?
KN: Development never follows a precise recipe, but I usually incorporate a combination of 3 methods:
- Be inspired by vintage fabric, but follow a modern production process.
- Design the material with the appearance and silhouette of the target coat in mind.
- Always consider incorporating the latest technology when producing COHÉRENCE materials.
B: When you are outside, coats give the overall silhouette of a man. Would you say the coat is the most important garment in a wardrobe?
KN: I wish I could just say ‘of course!’ [laughs] but I must amend and say it is one of the most important items. I do, however, believe it is the final touch of a man’s completed look.
B: We know that you have a strong background in “tailoring”. What do you consider the most important aspect for your coats? Pattern-making? Fabric? Colors? Details?
KN: Overall, one of the biggest values at COHÉRENCE
is reaching the highest quality. To achieve this, it’s not about how each of those elements performs individually, but rather how they come together in a catalytic way in the final product.
B: Can you give some styling tips for somebody who just bought the “AL” trench coat in olive green?
Cream beige corduroy suits, black knit polo shirt, beige paisley silk pocket square, charcoal gray plain knit socks (not lib knit), black grain leather tassel loafers, dark brown beret.
B: What is your daily style routine? How do you pick the best outfit in the morning?
Well, I always starts with seeing how bright the sun is shining outside, and then take it from there.
B: We often find you wearing a hat. Do you find any connection between coats and hats?
Coat and hat share a similar romanticism. The fact I love both is a sign that I’m pretty old school!
B: Your style is very unique. Do you have any advice for readers working to cultivate their personal style?
KN: Know your basic code. Don’t be afraid to dress simply. Be open minded towards all elements of culture, not just fashion. Forget what you are wearing once you are dressed.
B: Style wise, can you tell us something you have never told anyone else?
KN: I only wear silk underwear.