Kanye West is probably known as one of the most outspoken people in music today. Though there are many people who would throw a jab or five at West for his attitude, there is no doubt that he is creating thoughtful music. So when I say that Kaz of Kazuna Tailors is the Kanye West of Sydney tailoring you know he means business.
Born in Yokohoma, Japan, Kaz’s tailoring journey began at Tokyo Fashion School where he studied traditional tailoring for two years before embarking to the U S of A (“You learn how to make jeans, the shirts, the trousers, the jackets, everything. I was always into manufacturing and making stuff.”) where he was picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, to manage Charvet. He later returned to Tokyo working with Azabu Tailors where he developed a greater sense of his own style before finally settling here in Sydney. “I’m happy with what I have now. All those years doing sales, I wasn’t happy with what I had. This is the reason why [Kazuna] became the reality.”
He sat me down on the couch as he settled himself down on another chair, crossing his legs and explained to me the problem with the Australian menswear scene.
“Australians need, proper education,” he said. “The information you’re getting now in Sydney, is all wrong… You have to bring that information in through someone who has been there and seen and experienced that. Provide that education to consumers, because they’re the ones who need to know information about the product.”
Kaz explains that in Japan sales assistants are driven by a sense of kodawari (こだわり) which translates to: “a sincere and unwavering focus to achieve perfection and precision at a task, whilst knowing that perfection may not be possible”. Consequently they are incredibly educated about their products in order to provide their customers with the absolute best information. “Sales people are not educated enough in Australia,” Kaz laments. “Even though they’re hired, they don’t know.”
“If you go out to New York or Japan to do business with people and you wear that (referring to a photo of an Australian businessman), they’ll look at you and think, “This is acceptable in Australia?”…You’re getting the wrong information from retailers…I thought maybe I could change this.” Indeed if the Dark Ages has taught us anything it is that ignorance is not bliss.
Kaz is proud to say that he’s just getting started with his mission. He knows everything about the garments at Kazuna, from where the fabrics are sourced to the minutiae of his production in Japan, a nation dedicated to obsessing over detail and perfection which, Kaz muses, might explain the country’s high suicide rates.
Kaz has an eclectic range of garments available at Kazuna. In terms of fabrics Kaz offers premium quality superfine worsted wools, sourced from English, Italian, and of course Japanese mills to be fashioned into custom tailoring. Kazuna’s house-cut is timeless: medium width (8cm) lapels, a fitted but not tight cut, and a generous fully canvassed chest that drapes naturally and which will stand the test of time in terms of both durability and style. To get the proper fit, Kazuna has a ridiculous amount of master garments which he works off to accommodate any shape or size. “The proper fit [is] the thing you have to learn. You have to know what your body is basically,” Kaz explains.
Kaz also has made to measure neckties and pocket squares where you are able to select the fabrics, how the tie is constructed, and even the lining. It is especially important to a menswear enthusiast how a tie is constructed. Having the option of three/four/seven fold constructions, where the fabric is folded in on itself to add bulk to the tie, means that you can decide how the tie drapes. A great necktie can make a big impression.
On the other side of the room is artisanal casual wear that you wouldn’t find from your typical tailor: Japanese selvedge denim jeans, a luxury in casual menswear, some as light as 8 ounces for those Australian summers and even polos and rugby shirts with long plackets and English spread collars designed to be worn underneath sports jackets for that kick of savoire fair.
Kaz ensures that the look is complete with shoes that are goodyear and hand-welted in a variety of quality suedes, full grain calf leathers, and even the most coveted of all, Horween cordovan. Available in any style from oxfords to brogues, in twelve different sizes (starting from as small as 6 to 11 1/2 UK/AUS) in length, and four degrees of width, Kaz’s shoes are well worth a look at considering the paucity of affordable quality footwear in Sydney.
Perhaps the most interesting of Kaz’s wares however,are his shirt jackets: completely deconstructed, unlined jackets made out of shirting fabric. Tailored with the hot Australian climate in mind, these extremely light, pure cotton pieces are a perfect compromise between looking good and staying comfortable. As far as Kaz knows, he’s the only guy to offer these in Australia. With this much variety in styles and fits it’s a real challenge to find something that doesn’t look and feel great.
Indeed leaving UNSW on Friday after a successful O-Week for The Hounds, as Will, Mike, and I were just about to pack up and head off for drinks in the city with Tom and G.B. some kid approached us thinking we were tailors and demanded that we make him a suit. Even though we weren’t tailors he still wanted that suit real bad so we gave him Kaz’s business card. Hopefully Kaz set him straight.
202/90 Pitt Street