The famed photographer, stylist, creative director and designer has been an influencer in the Japanese market for almost two decades. We were lucky enough to pay him a visit on one of our stopovers in Tokyo. 

Kumagai-San could only ever be described as a multi faceted creative. His photography and styling, specifically his editorial commissions, have been featured in Western publications since the early 2000’s. In reference to his OG status, in 2003 Kumagai-San shot two campaigns for Ships, a Japanese apparel line. HYPEBEAST first post referencing Ships was posted in 2008… #beforethehype

Kumagai-San’s aesthetic sensibilities are best reflected in his photography. It oozes his stylization of shoots and the signature, almost ethereal, mood he is able to create. The best representation of this is his own apparel line, Naissance. Once again a solo endeavor, he designs his clothes with quality fabrics in mind and a definitive lean towards wearability. 

You understand Kumagai-san’s ethos much more in-depth when you experience the space in which he creates. Living an hour outside Tokyo in Hayama, Kanagawa away from the chaos, Kumagai-San who is also an avid surfer is able to live the lifestyle he chooses. Upon arriving, you notice his car — a Land Rover Defender, just the beginning. 

Entering Kumagai-san’s living area you immediately notice the wooden paneled walls. Your eyes then wander towards the eclectic installations throughout space and you can’t help but admire all of his belongings. One collection that left me breathless was his spread of opticals and sunglasses. They were all displayed meticulously on a shelf behind a couch and you can’t help but think, “this guy has more glasses than some Sunglass Huts, and I have no ounce of a doubt, more exclusive.” 

His space left us in awe. When he went on to tell us the story behind each of his collections, following up with each piece, you understand how he is able to work in so many different fields. Kumagai-San’s passion for a certain craft turns into an obsession, that obsession is reflected in his craft, that craft is what keeps us engaged. 

After leaving his space, Kumagai-San drove us to: J’Antiques, an inspiring vintage showroom with items from the early 19th Century up to Mid-Century Modern. Upon arriving you can see that J’Antiques is place where Kumagai-San relishes spending his time. It was apparent just how important this space was to him, as we drove an hour from the sea back to Tokyo with only this store in mind. Our project is focussed on understanding where these inspiring people cultivate the work they do. This could never be one static space and J’Antiques is a perfect example of this, it is without a doubt part of Kumagai-San’s creative inspirations.

The aficionado of culture.
Text by OCD.

Where They’ is a visual documentation of the creative environments of artist & people, that meet during my travels, of homes and studios.

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