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Digital artist Kenta Cobayashi distorts Dunhill stores

Words by Rob Chilton

London and Tokyo may be almost 10,000km apart but with the help of a daring new men’s fashion collection, the two cities have been brought closer together.

Tokyo-based digital artist, Kenta Cobayashi has worked with Dunhill’s creative director Mark Weston on a range of clothing and accessories. The men’s line depicts distorted versions of Cobayashi’s own photographs of Dunhill stores in Osaka and Tokyo, all with a blue theme.

This is the second time he has collaborated with Dunhill. Cobayashi’s first menswear collection launched in March with a colour scheme of gold, brown and orange and featured his altered images of Dunhill advertising campaign imagery from the 1960s and 1970s.

Weston, who joined the British house three years ago, said, “I love the idea of ‘digital crafting'. The way Kenta’s work utilises distortion really struck a chord with me.” EDGAR spoke to Cobayashi about his partnership with Dunhill and how Weston has inspired him to perhaps seek a career in fashion one day.

Ginza print t-shirt AED 1,145

What was the starting point for this blue capsule?

I shot the images of the Dunhill stores in Ginza in Tokyo, and Shinsaibashi in Osaka and then manipulated the Dunhill logos digitally on the store's exterior wall to be distorted like paint. The time of day was just before sunset when the blue sky was darkening into night.

How did it feel to be approached by Mark Weston?

I showed my artworks at the photo fair Offprint London [in 2016], which is where Mark found my work. Three years later, he emailed me, and this collaboration began. It was so sudden. It was my first time collaborating with a high brand. What felt real to me was visiting Mark's studio in Paris and seeing the men’s show afterwards. I was amazed and impressed by the quality of the pieces.

Dunhill creative director Mark Weston

Did you see how the Dunhill runway show was put together?

Yes, having Mark show me what goes on behind the scenes and giving us a tour of the collection was fascinating. Mark worked until the last minute of the show and he was both nervous and relaxed – and very professional. I usually work solo, but seeing Mark's team working on a production made me feel like I wanted to work like that one day. The show was impressive - the architecture, the lighting, the music, and the walking of the models collaborated beautifully. Fashion is a field of expression that is very close to the human body, so that inspires me.

Tote bag 3,605

What surprised you about working in the fashion industry?

There are a lot of people involved. You must have the ability to not only create beautiful designs, but also to lead a large and complex team.

Dunhill is such a London brand. What are your experiences of the city?

I went to Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery on a trip to London a long time ago; they were exhibiting works by Jeff Koons and it was gorgeous. We also went to the restaurant Pharmacy 2, which was memorable. A friend of mine in London showed me around and told me that England is very class-conscious and that left a strong impression on me. I hope to visit again sometime. The cloudy London air is somehow similar to the humid Tokyo air – I think it calms me down!

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