Photography by Mr Cedric Diradourian | Words by Mr Mansel Fletcher

From his fifth-floor office above Tokyo's Harajuku district, Mr Yo Shitara, 60, presides over the Beams fashion empire. This season MR PORTER is, for the first time, stocking Beams Plus, the brand's range of weekend wear. Beams Plus was launched in 1999, inspired by classic American casual clothes, the style of President John F Kennedy and the life of Mr Ernest Hemingway, in particular. To mark this occasion Mr Shitara welcomed us to his office.

What did you want to convey with the room's design?
I wanted it to express our corporate tagline, "Happy Life Solution Company".
And how would you describe it?
Basic and exciting, rough and chic. I enjoy the happy and relaxing atmosphere the minute I walk into the room.
How does the design of your office reflect the wide variation of Beams labels?
Among the chairs in my office you can find Italian mid-century, Scandinavian, and even oriental designs sharing the same space. Beams is also a mixture of various cultures from around the world.
How has your taste developed over the years?
I used to have a strong yearning for overseas culture, especially American culture, which influenced my style and inspiration and even my way of thinking. However, over the years, my Japanese DNA emerged, which made me re-discover the preciousness of our beautiful traditional culture and the importance of preserving Japanese products and craftsmanship.
If your office was on fire and you could only rescue one thing, what would it be?
A photograph of me with Shigeo Nagashima, a former baseball player and manager who I highly admire, and his framed autograph.
The collection of pictures and figurines is a strong mix of Western and Japanese influences - how does this relate to the range of Beams labels?
My collection transcends genre, nationality or historical background. Although it seems chaotic it's a mirror of the times.
Given your position in a fashion company, is it hard to balance the need to be creative and businesslike?
No, I don't find it difficult. In order to be flexible the most important thing is to have the ability to control your thoughts. For me, Qigong and meditation are associated with the mind controlling process.

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