With various weapons, comes various fighting styles
Born in 1830 in the United States, a country of freedom and independence, WOOLRICH and its pioneering spirit has continued to make history as America's oldest outdoor brand and has much in common with the lifestyles of fascinating people who work outside their genre and carve out a life of their own. Through interviews with these artists, we deepen our understanding of their unique and free way of life, as well as their appeal. This is the fourth installment in this series of interviews. This time we talked to world-renowned dancer and actress Koharu Sugawara, who in recent years has also been active as an actress. We are sure that the humble words she shares with us are bound to be a definite source of inspiration.
―Woolrich is the brand that created the buffalo check. What do you think of the buffalo check?
My dad was a sewer and he wore a red buffalo check shirt tucked into his high-waisted denim everyday as he worked. So for me, the image of the buffalo check is associated with my father's work uniform. Shirts have more steps to them with their collars, buttons, and then the step of tucking them into your pants. What a classic. A check shirt is not as laid back as a t-shirt, but because of its collar and check pattern, it strikes a unique balance between clean and casual. They are clothing for uniforms as well as everyday wear.
―What do you think of the shirt you wore today.
Woolly, right? It definitely warms me up (laughs). I feel the natural warmth of it no matter the season. When I wear check, it reminds of me of my father. Personally, I'd like to wear it with high waisted pants and boots.
―Woolrich is also the oldest outdoor brand in the U.S. Speaking of the U.S., you studied in LA. Why did you choose LA as the place to study abroad?
Simply put, a lot of my favorite dancers were from LA. I went there because I had a gut feeling that I needed to learn from them. At first I couldn't speak any English, but even if I couldn't speak, a good dance move was enough to get Americans to say "Yes". I was very moved by that. Of course, there were some difficult parts, but in a way, that was the essence of freedom. Their open stance on expression, which is not common in Japan, gave me the confidence that I could handle the challenge even if I didn't understand the language. It was good to learn that if I have a negative experience, I could "just look back on it with dance" and put a positive spin on it.
―What motivates you to take on many different challenges, such as acting in addition to dancing?
I fundamentally believe that "life = dance", but I don't think it is possible for human beings to continue doing the same thing forever. I came into the world with dance as my only weapon, but I have been hurt by it at times. There was a time when I wanted to quit. But I felt that way because all I did was dance. If you have a variety of weapons, you can fight in many different ways. Just practicing dance doesn't make you a good dancer. Since I realized that, I've been trying different things. For example, when it comes to acting, I'm not a professional. I'm a stranger, so there's no way I can do it well yet, but if it gives me a chance to expand my own range of expression, there's no reason to turn it down. I think it's better to have a lot of different perspectives within you, and I think that's good for your life and for dance. In the end, it all leads back to dance.
―That is a very powerful and positive way to live.
When you're positive, confident in yourself, and honest, all sorts of opportunities come to you, and you respond to those opportunities by expressing yourself honestly. To be honest, there's few people who do so. When you become an adult, you have to lie to live well. But there's no point in feeling that way. I just have to be positive and continue to improve. I want to challenge myself in many ways and chase a burning passion, to ultimately express myself through dance.
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Koharu Sugawara Born in 1992, she began dancing at the age of 10. After graduating from high school, she went to Los Angeles to study by herself. Her full-body, creative and passionate dance moves are highly regarded around the world, and she has worked with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Rihanna, Daichi Miura, and Genshi Yonezu. In recent years, she has been active in theater and in TV dramas as an actress, expanding her range of expression.