The Power of Fashion: Improving the Presence

“It is unfavorable to be underestimated just because of the clothing. The more successful a businessperson is, the higher awareness on the appearance he or she has, depending on the time, place and occasion. The high-quality clothing can help improve the presence.”

Mr. Tsujino, the president and the CEO of AlEX, and Mr. Yajima, who are both active globally, are taking about what kind of clothing can help a businessperson be successful in the world.

Mr. Tsujino: It is a famous story that Steve Jobs was affected by a uniform of Sony. It is said that he was attracted by the nylon jacket uniform designed by MIYAKE ISSEY and suggested to introduce a uniform in Apple as well. However, the suggestion has been rejected by the employees, so that he has made several pieces of the same black turtle-necked sweaters as uniforms only for himself.

Mr. Yajima: That turtle-necked sweater is also designed by MIYAKE ISSEY. Actually, the black turtle-necked sweater is now considered as a meaning of no individuality. It would be good, only because it was worn by Steve Jobs.

Mr. Tsujino: It is said that the appearance can express inner qualities to some extent. For example, Sony has made diverse products, even though the product itself has great quality, it still cannot be attractive with a poor packaging. So the package design also means a lot, just as how fashion is important to people.

Mr. Yajima: The appearance can express the way of life. In a business setting, a feeling of cleanliness is a must as well as a style which follows the trend of the time. Even if a job has nothing to do with fashion, it is also necessary to know something about it.

Mr. Tsujino: I totally agree. The business outcomes can be definitely affected by the sensitivities towards the latest fashion trends or the changes in the world. It is unfavorable to be underestimated just because of the clothing.

Mr. Yajima: If the way of dressing is wrong, the pocket is bulging unsightly with too much stuff, or the clothing is wrinkled, in these cases, no matter how refined and expensive suit you are dressing, the trust of others can hardly be earned. Surprisingly, these kinds of people are quite a lot.

Mr. Tsujino: In Google Era, people have started to think about the merits and demerits of the suit. A suit is regarded as a battledress for the professionals. Once people put on the suit, a battle mode is opened which make people act in a formal way. On the other hand, the casual outfits can let people feel free to communicate in a relaxed atmosphere. In Google, many innovations are created by talking frankly with people from different backgrounds. Even if only one of them is in a suit there, the whole atmosphere can be destroyed. I believe that clothes can have a strong influence on communications.

Mr. Yajima: I have lived in Pairs for a long time. The business casual is becoming more and more popular in France, just like Americans, they also go to work in Levi’s jeans. At bank counters, you can find people wearing a jacket with jeans and sneakers. This kind of fashion will never cause a feeling of discomfort, and is quite enough for the place and the job. In other words, time, place and occasion are very important. The casual outfits are depending on the time and the place since it cannot be suitable on all occasions.

Mr. Tsujino: Of course. The casual outfits are permitted more on a private occasion. Even in Google, however, a black tuxedo was required when they held a party in New York. To be aware of the time, place and occasion will be indispensable for a smooth-running business. A successful businessperson always dresses in suitable clothes which are appropriate for the place.

Mr. Yajima: Everyone can find a suitable pattern for him or herself. For instance, it might be annoyed that the muscles of the hip and thigh which gained from doing sports were not fitting the pants style. In that case, people might purchase the pants according to the waist size. However, my suggestion is, instead of that, to look for the pants in a slightly larger size which can make your hip and thighs look better, and then adjust the waist size. In Europe and America, it is common to try on over and over again in order to match the figure before buying them. However, it can hardly happen in Japan since people are more likely to buy ready-made items.

To make styling, I will first listen carefully to the custom’s requests, then check their closets and ask about their lifestyle. Moreover, I will collect more data by talking with the closest person of them, such as their partner. In that way, some hints of making a charming styling for the customer are likely to be unveiled. By doing so, it could even be possible to do coordinate in dozens of ways with only one suit.

Mr. Tsujino: Developing your own personal style by yourself would be perfect. However, asking for help from a professional like Mr. Yajima would also be effective. I myself am not so fashionable, so when I was moving a few days ago, I also asked each expert for advice on interior design and audio systems. The professionals really helped a lot. They matched the concepts I imaged and checked details by throwing all irrelevant things away so that it became more efficient. How similar it is in the field of fashion. Maybe sometimes bold clothes happen to fit you unexpectedly. Depending on the power of professionals while improving your own sense can be quite an effective measure.

Mr. Yajima: I agree. We are working as a helper after all. There are something in fashion just like rules or formulas, such as “1+1”, which can be remembered naturally during the practice. You won’t need us if you can get that sense and create your own style.

Mr. Tsujino: However, the Japanese people are basically shy. Therefore, we are not so good at showing ourselves actively. This must be changed. When I was working in Sony, as Japan has set up a superb brand of “Made-in-Japan”, it has become an economic giant whereas the cultural industry has been left behind. Despite this, rather than thinking the Japanese sense and culture are inferior, I believe that we still possess numerous treasures.

Mr. Yajima: These are a lot of appeals which seem to be understood very well by the foreigners while overlooked by the Japanese ourselves.

Mr. Tsujino: The majority of people who working in the general merchandise or cultural industry is small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals with awfully limited capital. The platforms on the internet are built to introduce the products these people made to the global market. Nowadays, the businesses only played within the minorities or stopped within the domestic domain are likely to disappear in some cases. As Japan has possessed a variety of superior assets after much effort, transmitting them to the global market has become one of the key roles of a mature economy. These products must be welcomed by all means in the world.

Mr. Yajima: As for the fashion, among the men who used to be shy, the number of people who want to be stylish is increasing. I feel that people is changing to be more confident and become willing to show themselves actively.

Mr. Tsujino: These kinds of people are now going outside to introduce Japan to the world in many fields. Particularly, to the managers who have many opportunities to appear in the public or the people who are doing business with a large number of customers, the high-quality clothing can help improve their presence, so a good sense of fashion should always be valued. If you do not have an open mind, nothing is going to change no matter how many suggestions will be given.

Koichiro Tsujino

He started his career in Sony in 1984. After working as the president of the companies for VAIO, digital TV, home videos and personal audio, he resigned from Sony in March 2006. In the following year, he joined Google, and then took up an appointment as a president and a representative director of Japan Branch. In April 2010, he left from Google, and then found ALEX. Now he is working as the president and the CEO of this company.

Takeshi Yajima

Style&Co. Style Editor / Fashion Designer

After left from VAN Jacket in 1975, he went to France alone, then has lived in Paris for thirteen years. During that time, he, as Japanese for the first time, has been selected on the knitwear page of “FRANCEELLE” where designers like Sonia Rykiel and Chantal Thomas made their debut. After finished his design in Paris, he came back to Japan in 1993. In Tokyo Collection 1994 Autumn/Winter, the men’s brand, “apres seize takeshi yajima” made its debut in Japan. Since then, he also started to be the guest of TV shows such as talk shows, variety shows, playing an active part in various programs.

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