Meet Kozue Akimoto: 10 Things You Need to Know About Tokyo's Hottest Street Style Star
The model reflects on her Japanese heritage and her love for fashion in this exclusive interview.
A couple of years ago, street style photographers appeared from absolutely nowhere, bringing with them a refreshing energy that we’ve never seen before to fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. All of a sudden, fashion is appreciated not exclusively at runway shows, but also outside of the show venues. From renowned magazine editors and celebrities, to off-duty models and fashion lovers, everyone gets to be in front of the camera — or a lot of cameras, to be more exact — and to show the world their personal style. And that’s precisely what Kozue Akimoto loves about fashion weeks.
Hailing from Tokyo, the 29-year-old Japanese model was seen everywhere during fashion month earlier this year, attending runway presentations of different brands including Dior, OFF-WHITE, Sacai and more. Known for her impeccable style and her signature sleek, black hair, Kozue is a favorite subject among street style photographers. It comes as no surprise that for the Fall 2017 season alone, she appeared in our streetsnaps series for multiple times.
We recently caught up with the trendsetter to chat about everything from her favorite Japanese designers and brands, to her beauty secrets and hidden talents. Read on to learn 10 things you didn’t know about Kozue, then check out a behind-the-scenes-video of the shoot below.
1. She has walked in both Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks:
“It’s hard to say which fashion capital is my favorite, but I’ve definitely got a lot of memories of Paris now that I’ve been there a number of times. Paris is also the city that helped open up many opportunities for me.”
2. Being photographed on the street is meaningful to her because:
“It’s almost like being the face of the brands and representing the designers that I love. To me, being snapped on the street is a great way to thank designers for inviting me to their shows.”
3. She likes to keep it real when posing for street style photographers:
“Streetsnaps are very different from editorial shoots. I always try to project my own personality and to keep things as natural and authentic as possible.”
4. She’s learned to appreciate her Japanese identity even more after attending fashion weeks:
“I was born and raised in Japan, and have cultivated my style from the things that inspire me in my hometown. I was surprised and glad to learn that my personal style gets appreciated in Europe. It feels nice to be accepted in other cultures, and it makes me value my Japanese heritage even more than before.”
5. More than that, she’s also discovered a newfound respect for Japanese designers:
“I’ve always loved Japanese brands like G.V.G.V., for example. However, I didn’t realize how internationally successful Japanese designers are until I was invited to attend my first fashion week. Seeing industry leaders like UNDERCOVER, Sacai, COMME des GARÇONS and Yohji Yamamoto showing their collections in Paris makes me feel all the more proud of the Japanese fashion scene. I have a lot of respect for these designers.”
6. Like many models, she has her own fashion mentor:
“Mitsuhiro Kubo, who’s the owner and creative director of the concept store GR8, has been a great mentor for me as a fashion icon. He’s the one who introduced me to men’s fashion week, and encouraged me to show off the strengths of womenswear even outside of women’s shows. Through meeting all these creative minds in the industry, I was able to explore pieces and styles that suit myself.”
7. She told us how she maintains her sleek, straight hair:
“First of all, I was born with it, thanks to my mom and dad. (Laughs) Well, I’ve never had my hair dyed, permed or curled. And I always make sure to dry my hair immediately after i wash them. There’s also this trick that I like to do, which is to apply conditioner onto my hair and to comb through it. It helps untangle your hair. After rinsing everything off, your hair will be all straight and nice.”
8. Three makeup products that she can never live without are:
“Black eyeliner, red lipstick and concealer, for sure. I don’t use foundation at all. By avoiding putting on too much product on my face, it becomes easier to take care of my skin. Less is more, right?”
9. Harajuku is her go-to shopping area in Tokyo:
“I used to go to Harajuku a lot when I was a student, so naturally it became my favorite place to go shopping. Now that I’m a little older, I like to go to Omotesando to check out shops like Opening Ceremony and GR8.”
10. Here are some of her hidden talents that most people don’t know about:
“I’m pretty good at cooking and I like to bake sometimes. I’d say I’m a good athlete as well. It’s in my genes, thanks to my dad (sumo grand champion, Chiyonofuji Mitsugu). These days, I’m doing a lot of workouts with my personal trainer.”
- Teresa Lam/Hypebae
- Renee Neoh/Hypebae
- Fuk Pak Jim/Hypebae