Kunimasa Odagi grew up in Hamamatsu, a city in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. He had lots of jobs growing up; construction, dump truck driver, ramen noodle cook and shopping mall parking security. At the age of 19, Kuni got the chance to visit the US and experienced a bit of culture shock in the best way possible. He immediately knew he had to learn English and moved to the US. Instead of following the same career path in education as his folks and brother, Kuni decided to focus on fashion and design.

Kuni has worked for some of our favorite brands including Engineered Garments, Staple Design, and Woolrich Woolen Mills. He is now the designer, product developer and sample coordinator for Spiewak Golden Fleece.

Two things that Kuni is passionate about in life are clothing and soccer. We’re inspired by Kuni’s hustle and style.

You mentioned how 80’s and 90’s street culture was inspiring to you when you first arrived in the US. What were they doing back then that’s different from today’s street culture?

Street culture definitely inspired me, but in the beginning, it was work wear then skate culture and eventually street wear. There was no internet in the 80s and 90s, so I had to get my information from magazines and TV. Also from older friends I would hang out with. I’m not from Tokyo, so my city didn’t have much clothing coming from the US... no Tim boots, no Gap, no J.Crew etc. There was one store that did bring in some street gear directly from NYC. I remember the clothing being really dope and the store owner was a big provider of information. Nowadays, because of the internet, there is so much information available it makes it easy for trends to catch on. I used to love going sneaker shopping or digging in vintage clothing crates. On the other hand, the internet is useful, so I guess it’s a love hate relationship. At the end of the day, I try to keep a low profile. Most importantly, people should always have the freedom to create and think for themselves.

Engineered Garments is one of your favorite brands. Why are their collections so consistently good?

This is tough to answer, but I think their collections are always balanced. Daiki has so much knowledge of clothing, which goes into the design of every garment. But he never over designs anything, which makes it super well balanced. He used to be a dope buyer, so he has seen many things. He respects the old/vintage clothing fit and sizing. It's very hard to find a pattern maker you can make a connection with. Daiki has a great chemistry with his pattern maker, which is so important because they can share their feelings regarding fit. From personal experience, when you make a sample that comes out exactly they way you design it, it’s the best thing. Also, beyond the obvious fact that Daiki-san is very good at what he does, he has a tremendous ability to understand what people want / what he wants to be.

Lastly, the team at Nepenthes are nice folks with a great mentality. They are all hard-working and it's a company that never compromises. If something's not right, it does not reach the customer. Simple as that.

We are heading over to Japan soon. Should we see a pro soccer game or baseball game?

Baseball is popular in Japan right now, but soccer is dope too. Be sure to check out the old capital city, Kyoto.