The clothes that makes me think "This is good enough" is the best compliment to me
This is a project to convey the thoughts of pioneers of each genre who continue to be independent and active in their own way, just like WOOLRICH, which has made history since the pioneer days of America when it was a country of freedom and independence. In this first installment, we have Yataro Matsuura, the founder of COW BOOKS and editor-in-chief of the web media "Kurashinokihon". He has written many books and has been active beyond his title.
―You have been wearing your WOOLRICH shirt for nearly 30 years. Where and when did you buy it?
I bought this when I was about 25 years old at a thrift store called "Alice's Underground" near the Natural History Museum in New York City. It was early fall in New York and it was colder than I expected. I didn't have any money, so I wanted clothes that were as cheap as possible, yet warm enough to last through the winter. It was WOOLRICH so, it was well made. I still hold onto those memories, and I still wear the shirt.
―You knew about WOOLRICH back then?
Yes, I thought the down jackets were very nice. This buffalo check is also iconic. It’s been 25 years since I got my hands on it, but recently I feel like it’s finally starting to fit in. When you’re young, you try to dress strangely nice, but when you’re in New York, the clothes you’ve been wearing in Tokyo be comes a little out of place. When I go abroad , I always feel like nobody is dressed up. The clothes themselves are styled to suit the person. With WOOLRICH, it’s not cool in a good way It's like "It's not cool, so it's cool”.
But it’s not just plain and simple, it’s solid with a sense of quality. Something that can be worn for a long time is more comfortable when I’m abroad and that’s my style. That's when my sense of values and concept of stylishness changed. I think this kind of shirt is really standard and can be called a long-lasting design. It's like the older it gets, the better it gets.
―In the American frontier days, the workers building the railroads wore them right?
It's workwear. I am attracted to workwear because of its high quality as a product. I've always liked it. When I think of the outdoors, I think new materials are better, but when I think of work, I'm more comfortable with wool and cotton.
―I had not imagined you wearing a red and black shirt, so I was surprised.
That's true, but American clothes have a strong sense of everyday utility. I'm not the type of person who scrutinizes colors and patterns when buying clothes, so this WOOLRICH shirt makes me think "this is good enough" in a good way. It feels like you would find such clothes in your wardrobe, but you often don't. You can quickly throw it on at any time, it's warm in the winter, and light and well-made, so you don't have to worry about handling it too harshly. It's not like they're expensive clothes, so it doesn't matter if you leave them around. It's also nice that you don't have to do much washing. I don't want to wear something filthy, but you don't wash these outer-ish shirts that meticulously. It's reasonable in a lot of ways, and it's easy for me. I don't want something I don't like, so saying, "This is good enough" is the best choice and a compliment to me.
- Read Vol. 02
Yataro Matsuura Former editor-in-chief of "Kurashinotecho" and the current editor-in-chief of the web media "Kurashinokihon". He is also active as a representative of a select bookstore located in Nakameguro called "COW BOOKS”. He has written many books, been serialized in magazines, made appearances on the radio, and given lectures. Inspired by the America, he went to the US by himself when he was a teenager.