Well Worn
Satoshi Kawamoto’s French Work Jacket
By Chiara Cremaschi
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Botanical master artist, creative director, and author: Satoshi Kawamoto is a figure who transcends traditional labels. Born and raised in Japan, he’s known for his distinctive approach to botany and green spaces, inspiring a shift in how we perceive and interact with plants. But there’s more to Satoshi than his botanical expertise. As a designer who oversaw shop direction in Tokyo, New York, and Milan, he’s made a significant impact in the world of interior styling and fashion, collaborating with brands such as Prada, Valentino, Muji, Uniqlo, Filson, Woolrich, Adidas, and Mr Porter.

Kawamoto’s motto is “A garden wasn’t built in a day”. When I inquire about the meaning of that sentence, Satoshi explains: “Plants continue to grow. They change their shape and make you feel the transformations of the four seasons. There is no final form when it comes to creating a garden or a space, it continues to evolve. This also applies to humans. It means continuing to learn and grow throughout your life”.

In his case, Kawamoto’s journey from Japan to New York and finally Milan was driven by a desire to take his craft to an international stage. He sought to showcase the skills he’d honed in his homeland and see how they resonated with people from diverse cultures. In 2017, while establishing himself in New York, a fateful opportunity arose – a client offered him the chance to own and manage a space in Milan.

As for plants, everything Kawamoto has nurtured along his journey has borne fruit. As a young man, he worked at an antique store, and today, he remains passionately fascinated by vintage furniture and clothing. I meet him in his studio, where, in addition to plants and dried flowers beautifully arranged in an outdoor greenhouse, I find vintage clothing of all kinds surrounding us, with a dedicated section for rare pieces.

Kawamoto draws a parallel between the worlds of greenery and vintage fashion, highlighting the enduring beauty that both share: “I think they have something in common: the withering beauty of passing time, which becomes evident in appearance over the years”.

His favourite “well-worn” piece in his wardrobe is a 1950s French work jacket. “I found this jacket while visiting Paris for work, as I love wandering around vintage markets looking for unique pieces. I’m captivated by its faded texture and the wear and tear resulting from the use by actual workers. Let your imagination roam, picturing the kinds of people who wore it and how they used it. As someone who designs both objects and spaces, I feel like I’ve inherited a soul.”

This type of jacket, often known as the “chore coat”, had its origins among agricultural and industrial workers. Today, it stands as an iconic workwear piece due to its simple and practical design: the fabric is durable, and the pockets are undeniably functional.

During our interview, Kawamoto wears his jacket over a vest, pairing it with French moleskin pants along with a flat cap. Everything is made of original fabric, creating an outfit where each shade of blue tells a unique story. “I’m used to wear it while I’m actually working, but I love to style it in various ways, such as adding a silk scarf or pairing it with beautiful shoes.”

In Kawamoto’s world, the merging of nature and fashion forms a narrative that transcends traditional boundaries. With a penchant for timeless pieces and an eye for beauty, Satoshi Kawamoto teaches us to appreciate the perfect imperfection of time and the changes it brings, without haste, both in personal style and in life.

Explore more about his work and closet by visiting Satoshi Kawamoto’s official website and Instagram.

Photography by Paolo Biava

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