The TCL editorial team got a chance to interview the designer of Kodama Apparel and got to know the Japanese heritage influencing the designs along with sustainability as a core value driving this independent street wear brand.
1. When and where did you first begin?
I worked as a garment technician/product developer for over 10 years in various apparel companies. As I progressed in my career, I learned how harmful the fashion industry can be to the environment and the workers. In late 2016, in Melbourne, I came up with the idea of starting Kodama Apparel to change how we think fashion.
2. Where does your design inspiration come from?
My Japanese heritage heavily influences Kodama Apparel. I love the minimal aesthetic the culture brings, which always inspires me. Environmental sustainability is one of the core values; all styles are made using low-impact materials and designed to ensure quality that promotes the longevity of each item.
3. Describe your brand in 3 words.
Unisex, sustainable, streetwear.
4. What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
It takes more than just being a designer, and one of the challenging things is that you need to work in different roles. One day I can be a marketing manager, and the next day I might be a salesman.
5. Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
I particularly enjoy overseeing the whole production. I love building the concept and designs but being able to see through the entire process from 2D design to a complete product is fulfilling.
You have to create production budgets and crunch some numbers in the process, and I guess that’s challenging at times.
6. Do you have a mentor?
I used to have a mentor when I studied a short course in business. But I’m so grateful to have my partner and friends I’ve met through my career, which always supports what I do.
7. How long did your latest collection take to create?
My latest collection is ‘Urban Nature’, which took me around five months. I cut and sewn all the hoodies, t-shirts, and long sleeve tees in my studio, which was an entire 3-month operation.
8. What are your future plans?
I’m pursuing Kodama Apparel to one day become an internationally recognized brand by bringing awareness to sustainable fashion that follows ethical and eco-friendly practices.
9. Which pieces do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?
T-shirts and hoodies are must-haves. They’re such a versatile item that you can mix, match and layer with other items in your wardrobe. The kimono-style overcoat is also a popular piece to layer over your outfit.
10. What attracted you to The Clothing Lounge
I was initially highly recommended. I love the contemporary approach at The Clothing Lounge and that it isn’t following overly trendy fast-fashion styles. It shows how fashion can be exciting and experimental yet be ethical and environmentally conscious at the same time.