TEÄTORA's Radical Modernity

Discussing the Tokyo-based brand's innovative approach to contemporary workwear, END. sit down with TEÄTORA's Daisuke Kamide.

TEÄTORA Packable series
TEÄTORA Packable series
TEÄTORA Packable series
Unimpressed with the clothing available on the market that catered for contemporary work life, Daisuke Kamide sought to fill a void in workwear with TEÄTORA.

Offering technical garments that deliver a functional and innovative ideological approach to design, Kamide's brand evaluates the concept of "workwear", questioning its nature and defining the necessities of what constitutes clothing for work in the 21st Century.

In a working milieu where sitting is the natural position for many, TEÄTORA offers a precise vision based on Kamide's own exacting personal requirements. Born from seeking to create the ideal trouser for himself, the Tokyo-based designer's label expanded into offering a plethora of garments built to withstand the rigours of everyday working life, and a packable series, enhancing clothing with efficiency and subtle functionality in mind. Identifying an absence, the Japanese label offers a remedy to the malaise of traditional workwear design. Encapsulating a progressive attitude and an outlook based on versatility, TEÄTORA champions the modern worker, delivering clothing for "creators battling in work chairs."

Sitting down with Daisuke Kamide, END. discuss TEÄTORA's packable series, the essence of functionality and cultivating a new expression of workwear.

TEÄTORA Packable series
TEÄTORA Packable series

TEÄTORA have filled a gap in contemporary menswear, creating garments for the modern-day worker who requires functional, smart-casual clothing for city living. Why do you think the world of menswear design has been so hesitant to change?

The reason the suit has not been altered in major way, until now, is that suits originate from a specific approach and sense of quality – even as the times have changed, that approach and quality has not changed drastically. It seems that some things are never going to change. The situation of work and the belongings that we carry in our daily life have completely changed in the past ten years after the extension of WiFi infrastructure and the revolutionary invention of the iPhone as the “All In One Device”. I can say that these changes created the gap for clothing to evolve.

Did the inspiration to start a brand that dealt with these issues come from your own personal requirements for clothing?

I spend the majority of my time working, so I spend most of my time sitting down. The first thing that drove the creation of TEÄTORA was the development of trousers built for extended periods of sitting. The trousers that are generally available are made predominantly with standing in mind, therefore, they are not optimised for situations where working sitting down for a long period of time is required.

This was the most important goal, to create a completely different trouser from the other trousers that were available, to create an absolute concept that doesn’t exist in the world. TEÄTORA began from this point – to support the action of sitting.  

TEÄTORA Packable series
Innovative values are hidden behind incalculable things.

Functionality has a variety of different meanings to different people – what is functional to a hiker may not be the most appropriate clothing for a runner. Is versatility in functionality at the core of TEÄTORA?

We do not do a runway show or shoot our look book images with models because we think that we shouldn’t make any specific suggestions to how users should use and wear our garments. We prefer to let our customers decide based on their own lifestyles. For example, we present our products as functional garments that you can wear in a business situation but some TEÄTORA customers use our garments for travel, as useful functional products, while others use our outerwear simply because they can fit a lot of belongings in the pockets. The radical aspect of functional product is that the product can channel an unlimited number of possibilities based on a specific user’s lifestyle. It isn’t limitational. Rather than proposing a specific way to use our products, we offer a blank space that can be used flexibly by our customers and deliver product that can directly adapt to a specific user’s situation. What I am offering with TEÄTORA is ultimate functionality, which each and every user can shift in any way they desire.

How does TEÄTORA combat these concerns with functionality?

In order to move forward into the design stage and truly investigate functionality, we have a rule in the TEÄTORA studio that we must have real experiences with the product ourselves, because products that are based on calculation and conjecture don’t have effective utility. By having those real experiences, we can find real value that we hadn’t previously seen or acknowledged. The most important process is to confront these values based on our experiences until we are completely convinced that they are absolutely required. Calculable values are paradoxically values that already exist in the world based on previously made ideas, while innovative values are hidden behind incalculable things, with no way to discover them without real experiences. We really care about this principal and seek the innovative, incalculable values, acknowledging them and testing them until we are convinced that they are necessary.

TEÄTORA Packable series
The idea of buying clothes specifically for working in may be lost altogether.

When designing a new garment, what are the primary elements you are looking for in terms of aesthetics and functionality?

When first developing new TEÄTORA product, the initial point is to determine if the product is essential, before moving forward into the design stage. I don’t want to own anything that is not completely essential, based on my experience. 98% of TEÄTORA product’s pattern engineering is constructed with functionality influenced by our original testing. There is a very small percentage where the aesthetic aspect influences that side of the design process, therefore I obsess over the specifications of the product, line by line and detail by detail. When I do design that small percentage that is dedicated to the aesthetic aspect, I think about how TEÄTORA users will use the garment, how they might wear them and how they might work.

Why was it important to make TEÄTORA garments packable?

The packable series has been developed specifically for travel. I usually don’t bring any bags when I travel and I try to minimise packing, therefore the packable series has been developed with the following points in mind that come from my own specific requirements.

1.      Reducing the necessity for bags through increasing the storage space within the garments themselves.

2.      Efficiency moving through airport security as you only need to remove one item.

3.      Less stress on my garments when travelling.

4.      Ease of wear, but with the versatility to be worn everywhere, even in more unusual situations.

5.      Ease of storage when the garment is not needed.

Placed in the interior of the garment is a packable pouch that doubles as a useful security pocket. When you aren't wearing the product, you can store the garment compactly in the pouch, which allows for beautiful and efficient packing.

I imagine designing a garment with packability in mind offers its own set of challenges to overcome – how is the design stage altered by introducing the packable aspect to TEÄTORA’s garments?

At TEÄTORA, designing removable parts, such as a removable hood or a coat belt, is prohibited because they can easily be lost. Recently, packable items have become a lot more commonplace. However, the majority of them have a removable pouch that is separate from the product. In my opinion, it’s a preposterous approach to design because it means the removable part can be easily lost. Why we really value integrated design at TEÄTORA is that it allows us to enhance certain details as well as remove other aspects – it allows us to discover and create different values in these details. Referring to our packable series, with TEÄTORA’s integrated approach to design, it is effective for naturally packing away the product and it removes any concern one may have for losing the pouch. Also, the pouch can be used as a security pocket when you’re wearing the garment, removing the necessity for bringing a bag for your valuables. Based on TEÄTORA’s developments in functionality, it isn’t sufficient enough to create this form of functionality as the sole objective, moving from primary use, to secondary to tertiary use. It is essential for these uses to be integrated in a form of co-operative functionality, a diversified functionality.

Your clothing has been described as a new form of workwear, with the office as the site of work. How would you define workwear in the modern age?

The way we define workwear at TEÄTORA is clothing that you don’t need to change wherever you may go or whoever you may meet, because the functionality and elegance of the product is made with our specific principles. Suits may be designed for work, and casual clothing for your days off – however, at TEÄTORA, we interpret workwear as “All In One Garment” clothing, with no disparity between days working and days off. When that happens in reality, no one will call it workwear. On the contrary, the idea of buying clothes specifically for working in may be lost altogether. One of our goals is to originate the ideas behind TEÄTORA, eliminating the old stereotype and concept of workwear. It is a rather huge vision. However, we persuade ourselves that “after experiencing irresistible convenience, people will not return to before that time.” Much like how no one can imagine going back to the era before the internet, or before the iPhone.

TEÄTORA Packable series
TEÄTORA Packable series
writerEND.
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