Illustration by Yoshifumi Takeda
Text & Photography
“My Father, Hockney, and Chinos”
On his days off, my father always used to wear this pair of American army surplus chinos.
“The fabric is thick and rugged. Pretty cool, right?” he used to tell me proudly when I was a kid. The chinos had a wide-legged, masculine profile. “They’re so tough it’s hard to wash them!” my mom laughed, throwing her hands up. This made me want a pair of chinos for myself.
At nineteen, I was traveling around the US when I popped into a flea market at a church, and inside one of the cardboard bins, I found a fabric and color that really took me back. “Wow,” I thought. I’d almost forgotten about chinos at the time. “My grandpa wore those in the army,” said the smiling blue-eyed lady who was selling them. When I asked if I could buy them, she said “Of course! My grandpa would love that.”
When I tried on the chinos, I was amazed by the unique texture of the twill. “This is it!” Dressing myself in a button-down shirt, I rolled up the ankles and laced up a pair of white sneakers, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I resembled David Hockney in his younger days, when he favored baggy chinos.
I own two pairs of UNIQLO chinos, in beige and khaki. To this day, I wear them just like Hockney, one size up. I’m a big fan of the attention to classic details and the way they’ve broken in after four years of wear.
Chinos are the best.
“An Alternative Lifestyle”
At first glance, the trend toward a more stoic lifestyle of living simply, or not owning things, may seem like just what the doctor ordered, but it makes me sad to see the whole world heading toward a plain and unassuming aesthetic. I am of the firm opinion that each of us, with our own eyes, should revisit the structure of the world around us and aim for an “alternative lifestyle” that intelligently showcases a new kind of richness. A richness derived not from luxury, but ingenuity.
We have transitioned from a material age into an experience-driven age, in which “how” we spend is at least as important as “what” we buy. In the future, this alternative lifestyle will come to fruition—a way of life with a proper sense of beauty, focusing on moral and spiritual integrity without needlessly limiting our desires or our appetites.
For years, UNIQLO’s cashmere crew neck has played a central role in my wardrobe from the fall into the spring. It’s said that deep in the past, cashmere was treated as a holy fabric by the high priests of Tibet, who draped it over themselves when they meditated. Every year, I look forward to the day when I can pull on a cashmere sweater and enjoy its warm touch and its sense of dignity. This sweater taught me what a “proper sense of beauty” is all about.
Born in 1965 in Tokyo. Opened the bookstore “COW BOOKS” in 2003. From 2006 to 2015, he served as editor of the lifestyle magazine Kurashi no Techo, founding the website “Kurashi no Kihon.” He currently manages Oishi Kenko Inc., a service for promoting healthy living. His books include Live Today, For Tomorrow and 100 Basics for Work and Life, as well as 100 Basics of Clothing: LifeWear Story 100, which gathers together his column from the UNIQLO website.