Woolrich Woolen Mills head designer
Mon Dec 8 2008
What it is: A men’s country-meets-city-chic outdoor line.
Who he is: Japanese-born Suzuki began his work in the U.S. in 1989. Starting out as a purchaser in Boston, he brought authentic hunting gear to the shores of Japan. Ten years later, Suzuki began his first clothing line, Engineered Garments, and the brand quickly blossomed from having a cult Japanese fan base to being an international mainstay. Then in 2006, he joined the well-known Woolrich Woolen Mills team. Their traditional American look was a perfect fit for the ironically non-American designer. After updating the 170-year-old brand, Suzuki nabbed a CFDA/GQ Menswear Designer of the Year Award in February 2008.
What he makes: The rebirth of classic American sportswear is as big a surprise to Suzuki as it is to anyone else. “I am really quite surprised by this trend,” he says. “I always admired Woolrich Woolen Mills growing up and let it influence my work long before I started designing there.” Combining utility and a modern sensibility, Suzuki’s method is to stay traditional while invigorating the brand. “It’s about being made in the USA,” he continues. “It’s not easy manufacturing here, but that’s what gives it its character and heritage.”
What's next: “That’s hard to say, as we work season to season,” admits Suzuki. “But perhaps a collaboration? Who knows!”
Where to find it: Barneys New York (660 Madison Ave between 60th and 61st Sts; 212-754-7940, )
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