It's easy for anyone to wear, because it’s for everyone
From a modern black outfit to an active look mixed with a parka or jersey, or a classic work outfit paired with denim, to a slim punk look. For this project, Stylist Tsuyoshi Noguchi styled 10 unique outfits based on the "restriction that every outfit must have a buffalo check item.” Having had a persistent fascination for America since he was a teenager and having had played role in helping American casual fashion take root in Japan, we decided to ask him about the appeal of the buffalo check.
―As a symbol of American casual wear, I'm sure you've styled buffalo checks items a countless number of times, but when did you first learn about the buffalo check?
I was an assistant, so I guess I was about 20 years old. I think the first time I saw the buffalo check was at a vintage clothing store when American casual wear was in full swing. It was originally designed as a hunting jacket, but I thought it could also be used for a workwear or outdoor look.
―Did you know that buffalo check was created by WOOLRICH?
That's right. At the time, that kind of knowledge was very important and there were many vintage clothing shop staff members who knew a great deal about it. When I would go to borrow clothes, I would often ask the staff to tell me about the clothes first. I was taught many things in many places and I was learning every day. Nowadays, there are less people like that though.
―When styling buffalo check items, was there anything that you kept in mind?
Buffalo check has a very impactful look, so I had to pay attention to every detail so that the checkered pattern wouldn’t be overpowering. I also used a lot of layering. In the past, I’ve paired it with denim jackets and parkas, or layered it with checkered shirts for a checker-on-checker look. I threw a vest over the buffalo check outerwear and did all sorts of other things. There were even times when I layered so much that I thought my arms would never go down (laughs).
―Please tell us about the theme of this shoot.
We shot in a tough location to convey an authentic atmosphere, but I tried not to make everything look like an extension of work wear by adding jersey and using only black for a more mature look. Overall, I tried to avoid styling outfits that had already been done. Also, the checkered pattern can tend to look cute, so this time I was careful about creating a more masculine look.
―Because it's a common pattern, it matches and asserts itself in each of the 10 looks, doesn't it?
That's right. The checks come in various sizes. It would be nice if there were more colors to choose from, and it was a little difficult to create a distinction with a range of colors since most of them are the standard red and black. That led me to search not only the brand's archive pieces but also vintage clothing stores all over Japan for this project. Surprisingly, I found some items from the 70s at some secondhand stores. I think the oldest item I found was from the 50s.
―Were there any Buffalo check items that you wish you had for your styling?
I used a poncho-like blanket, but I thought that if I had something a little larger, it would help broaden my styling. Also, it would be nice to have items that have a texture, like vintage clothes that have been shrunk. A buffalo check with depth, perhaps. I think it would be interesting to collect old fabrics and remake new ones as well.
―In recent years, the buffalo check has been attracting attention again, as Maison brands have also developed items, right?
It would be interesting to see a collaboration with a Maison brand, like making a very large buffalo check (laughs). I think it would be interesting to go through the archives and ask a talented designer to do that, because WOOLRICH is a well established company that's been around since the 1800s. It's one of the privileges of a well established company to be able to do that.
―What do you think is the appeal of Buffalo Check?
The fact that it's surprisingly easy to wear for anyone. This time I went for an authentic look, so next time I'd like to do a shoot with a more modern feel.
TSUYOSHI NOGUCHI A stylist who has been active in a wide range of fields since the 1980s, his work spans from fashion magazines and advertisements to styling musicians. and he has been responsible for kickstarting a variety of movements within the Japanese fashion scene. His styling is influenced by American culture and is characterized by a sense of rebellion. He is also currently the director of his own denim brand, Mine Denim. He loves photography and T-shirts.