The Genteel
March 5, 2021


Looks from Kei Tsunoji's A/W 2013. Source:

Last Spring, Kei Tsunoji presented his A/W 2013 collection beside fellow classmates and womenswear designers, Nelly Hohmann and Natsuki Watanabe, at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The student trio from the acclaimed Japanese design school, Vantan Design Institute, were featured in the Vantan Tokyo show at The Stage at Lincoln Center, New York City.

Tsunoji emerged as an up-and-coming designer in 2010 when he won the HEP Five Original Fashion Contest - Japan's most sought-after fashion competition. Tsunoji spoke with The Genteel for this week's Five x Five to explain the impact Vantan has had on his work, as well as the inspiration behind his collections, his future aspirations and his understanding of the role of fashion in the modern world.

The designer. Source:

1. How did your experience at Vantan prepare you for your debut at MBFW New York?

I learned everything, from the basic knowledge and skills of designing clothes to presenting my own collection at MBFW New York through Vantan. Everything has its difficulties and hurdles that you need to get past.

2. What was the most important lesson you learned from the experience?

The most important thing that I have learnt is that I would not have achieved the things that I have without the support from the staff of Vantan, my family and my friends. I am extremely grateful to be where I am now and I will keep doing my best to excel in the fashion world, not just for myself, but also for the people that have supported me.

3. What inspired your debut collection and how is it translated into the clothes?

I am always inspired by the fashionable people on the street. I truly admire the people who are not afraid of taking the risk to be unique and different from others. I tend to get most of my inspiration from these people.

4. What are your views on the role of fashion in contemporary society?

I think that fashion definitely has the ability to lead and direct people towards brighter lives, giving them the confidence to interact with others. I believe that when you wear what you like to wear and know you look good, you feel better about yourself and this shows through your confidence.

5. You've almost completed your training at Vantan and have made it onto the MBFW runway. Where do you plan to go from here?

I would like to found my own fashion label in Japan. After I have established my base clients there, I would then like to expand my reach globally and share my designs with as many people as possible across the world.

Related: Five x Five: Devastée

Related: Five x Five: Kirsty Ward



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