Thursday, May 17, 2007


The best surprise and one of the most fascinating interviews of our Japan journey came in the form of our visit with Khaki, owner and designer of +8 Paris Rock. We didn't know Khaki before this trip. We met by chance when he began a casual conversation with toypunks' Chris and Carl outside an antique shop in Meguro-ku. Before Khaki knew anything about the toypunks project he told us he was a fashion designer whose philosophy is inspired by Lou Reed circa '77. An old soul and a gracious guy, Khaki invited the toypunks crew to dinner and to his design studio in Nakameguro. Nakameguro is purportedly becoming one of the cool neighborhoods in Tokyo; "Harajuku is not nearly as interesting these days", he says.
At Khaki's studio we're blown away by his hand-crafted jewelry items that reveal layers of intricacy. Khaki's work is elegant, thoughtful and tough.

A recent Vans collaboration--classic style! Khaki tells us that he never uses computers to design, only raw materials, pencil and paper. Check out these distressed-and-dirtied Vans and Converse collabs. Pretty fresh.

Of course, after hanging out with Khaki and friends for a few beers and home style food at a local restaurant, an interview was a must! toypunks' Chris Nelson sets up the shot inside the studio.
During our chat, we learn that Khaki is a serious collector. A David Cronenberg fan, Khaki first shows us his Medicom typewriter beetle from Naked Lunch. His friend, Oka Narue of Medicom Toy, gave it to him as a gift and only a few of them exist. Toy heads will know Oka's name for a lot of reasons, though he's best known for creating the Kubrick. It's a small world for people who make rad things.

The root of it all! Khaki also collects records. He has roughly 5,000 of them, "all rock" he says. His other collections include teak skateboards from the '70s and pre-NES hand-held games called Gamewatch.

Ultimately, Khaki tells us that he's intentionally kept his brand small so that he can control quality and make whatever he wants. He doesn't care about trends at all and philosophy of design is most important to him. Khaki is the real deal. Here he is with his partner who makes women's items and jewelry. Anthony Keidis is in the middle. Khaki makes clothes for Anthony's band.