Raf Tsukamoto

Tell us a general picture about yourself.

I’m half Japanese half Brazilian; born and raised in Brazil. Moved here to Canada seven or eight years ago. I currently study fashion marketing at LaSalle College and what got me into fashion was a mixture of factors. I was studying something I didn’t like (politics) and my friend Luis was studying fashion and I was very interested when he would talk to me about what he was learning at school and ended up convincing me to study fashion at school but he dropped out when I started.

Also, I would always- well I still do it- I would always watch people in the streets. I like to walk a lot and when I see outfits that catch my eyes I try to ask myself, “why did this person choose to wear this outfit today? Why did they pick these colours?” I try to put myself in their position and figure out what was their thinking process when choosing what to wear.

If you were to describe your own personality, what would you say?

I’m a very shy person. I suck at talking about myself. Talking about my personality- I know I’m an introvert. I did this personality test for a class I took and my personality type was called mediator, it’s more of a person who thinks a lot and needs their space. I can relate a lot with that. These people are also usually into art or poetry. I was told William Shakespeare and Johnny Depp had the same personality as me- although, I don’t know if it’s true, haha.

What is or was your most prized possession in your closet?

I don’t know how to answer that because I’ve had a bunch of different clothing that I liked a lot. But if I had to choose my favourite piece would be this Number (N)ine Montreal tee I’m wearing today.

When people ask you about what you do, is there any specific thing you tell them?

I used to work at a beer store but I quit a couple of weeks ago. Right now, I’m unemployed and I’m just reading books, browsing on the Internet learning things that can help me in my future career.

I mean, it could be tough to know exactly what you do since you take a very restricted and sometimes mysterious approach to social media. Is there a reason you have for this?

It’s more about- well I learned that you should treat your social media as your portfolio; so I don’t really post things I’m gonna regret in the future. Also, I’m a reserved person and only use social media at my extent.


Do you think you are the same person on social media?

What my friends say is that my normal Instagram is not the real me. But I have another account (finsta) in which they say it’s the real me. But I feel like my main account is more of a presentable image I want people to have of me. I wouldn’t say it’s professional, but it’s more- what’s the word?- I just feel like the image I have is more of a general image of myself. If you see my captions or whatever, it’s about chapters in my life. Not all of the pictures but some of them are like souvenirs for me. It brings back memories.

With the presence of social media, and the way that style and trends are communicated within seconds all over the world, do you think it is harder to remain original in a climate with so much inspiration?

It’s a bit of the reason I stopped following outfits accounts and mood board accounts. There is so much out there that it’s impossible to keep up with every trend. The fashion cycle changes every two or three weeks and there’s always a new trend. I don’t know, I don’t wanna follow every trend, I follow the ones that fit more with my personal style. I wouldn’t say my style is more original, but I am very into versatility. I watched this documentary about Anti-fashion and it was about when Japanese designers went to Europe-because at that time French fashion was very luxurious and glamourous- and then Japanese fashion came in – Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and other designers- and the impact they made in Europe at the time was deemed anti-fashion (almost like a rebellion) because they would show very different collections than what people were seeing at the time. Before them, it was very colorful and luxurious, but they came to Europe with most of the outfits being black and sometimes with holes and rips. This served as somewhat of an inspiration because I think it was more original and that it was okay to not be with every trend.

In terms of your personal style, how has it evolved over the years?

When I started getting into fashion I used to wear a lot of skinny jeans, Stussy hoodies and some brands I could find locally. Then, I started wearing Supreme, Palace, Dime and Gosha because I thought it was cool at that time and it wasn’t very popular in Montreal. It sort of came from there and now I am more into Japanese brands because the clothes fit better my body and my taste. Also, sustainability, I only buy second hand clothes.

It seems that fashion trends and styles come and go like cycles, do you think there is a specific reason for this?

I think it’s a way for the industry to make money. Without trends, clothes are just clothes with nothing attached to them. It’s a way to capitalize on our society using influencers and celebrities bringing back older trends and silhouettes back into circulation. Right now, it’s more of nostalgia, a lot of 80s and 90s are coming back. Brands like Vetements are finding a cooler way of doing things that already existed before and created a new trend and making money out of it.

Working on this collaboration with us as a stylist, did you have a specific approach to styling the models?

I tried to style the models a little bit with clothes that I would wear myself. At the same time I kept in mind about it looking good on them and keeping the Maison Coterie brand image in a good light.

Have you ever had any previous experience in styling beforehand?

My first styling experience was for Soirée Mode at College Lasalle. I was actually responsible for the casting but the styling team needed help so I styled a couple of looks for them.

Do you have more projects or different aspirations you hope to achieve in the future?

Right now, I would just like to help Montreal as much as I can in terms of fashion. If it’s either by helping our brands like Maison Coterie or bringing clothes from Japan to market here in Montreal. It’s because I don’t plan to stay here in Montreal for much longer, so I wanna do as much as I can while I’m here.