My Wardrobe

Japanese chef Kenjiro Hashida cooks up his own style

Mr Kenjiro Hashida is wearing a T-shirt he painted himself, pants from Uniqlo and a straw hat from Japanese hat shop Toraya which cost about $700.
Mr Kenjiro Hashida is wearing a T-shirt he painted himself, pants from Uniqlo and a straw hat from Japanese hat shop Toraya which cost about $700. PHOTOS: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Chef Kenjiro Hashida started watching fashion shows on TV when he was five

Mr Kenjiro Hashida, 38, married, owner and chef at Hashida Sushi Singapore

How would you describe your style?

I don’t have a fixed style. I don’t like to wear designer brands from top to toe either.

The pants I’m wearing are from Uniqlo. It’s how I mix and match my outfit.

Sometimes I make clothes myself, like the T-shirt I’m wearing. I saw a Diesel T-shirt with painted brush strokes that I liked, so I made one myself by painting on a T-shirt.

When did your interest in fashion start?

I remember watching the fashion television show, Fashion Tsushin, with my late mother every Monday night when I was about five or six years old. We would watch the runway shows and fashion editors commenting on the clothes and so on.

I like to see the colours. Even when I started working, I went to museums to look at the art or even to the flower shop to look at all the different colours of the flowers.

I also read magazines such as the Japanese editions of Vogue and Elle. Ladies’ fashion is much more colourful compared to men’s.

Who are your favourite designers and which are your go-to brands?

Japanese fashion brand Dresscamp, which is by my friend Toshikazu Iwaya. I also like John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen – however, they are expensive (laughs).

When McQueen was alive, his designs and runway shows were out of this world, like Galliano’s.

I am particularly inspired by Westwood’s creative designs and how she is able to utilise her status as a famous designer for charity.

I’ve been inspired by Galliano’s designs for my cuisine. For one of his shows for Dior, the models looked as though they were wearing origami, so I cut some white radish in a square with origami pleats in it and served it in a soup.

Who are your style icons?

I don’t have a style icon, but I liked it when actor Johnny Depp once wore beaded jewellery that his daughter made for him. It’s lovely to me.

I made rings for my mother too. I used aluminium foil when I was a child and then silver clay when I was older.

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?

My necklace with the word “Rude” on it (photo 1), which I bought from an antique shop in the Philippines last year, because of the word rude. When I am late, I don’t have to say sorry, the necklace says it for me. (He’s being cheeky, of course.)

My yellow suit with prints of horses and Chinese men (photo 2) from Thai menswear label Pattric Boyle, which I got this March for about $600. I like crazy prints.

My π (pi, the mathematical symbol) brand cap (photo 3), which I designed with my friend Takeshi Nagashima (he’s also a chef). We approached American cap brand New Era to help us make it.

I also like my horsehair clutch (photo 4), which I bought for $300 from Mandarin Gallery this year. I like everything about it – the colour, the size and the texture of the horsehair.

What is your favourite splurge piece?

My straw hat (worn in main photo) which I bought from Japanese hat shop Toraya in Ginza five years ago for about $700.

When I was about 14 years old, my father took me to bars often and I saw many gentlemen wearing hats from Toraya. I told myself that when I am older, I would get my own hats from Toraya too. I bought my first hat, a red one, eight years ago. I have five hats from Toraya now.

What are your weaknesses when it comes to shopping?

Even if I like something a lot but it is not in my size, I will still buy it and hope I can fit in it.

Or if I see a piece of women’s clothing I really like, whether it’s the print or colour, I will buy it for my wife. It’s a problem because she has a simpler style and doesn’t wear so much prints.

Is there a purchase you have regretted?

So far, no. I know what I like.

What is your most recent fashion purchase?

My Puma x Trapstar Disc Blaze sneakers (photo 5), which I bought from a second-hand shop in San Francisco last week. I paid US$68 (S$93) for them. I like the gadget disc thing on them and the prints. I wear sneakers during my days off.

What is the best shopping or style advice you live by?

Take the time to develop your own style and don’t think about whether it is branded or not.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2017, with the headline 'Cooking up his own style'. Print Edition | Subscribe