“Everything Has Come From The People I’ve Met” – Mr Tatsuo Hino On His Start In Fashion
Collage by Mr Maxwell N Burnstein
Mr Tatsuo Hino has a job that’s hard to define. Born in Japan and based in London as the director of Beams & Co, the UK outpost of Beams Japan, Hino has done everything from setting up magazines to fashion buying. Acting as a liaison between the fashion industries in Japan and the UK, he brings brands and businesses together, forging relationships that would not otherwise be possible.
To add another string to his bow, Mr Hino is also an industry mentor in our MR PORTER FUTURES project. A revolutionary talent search and mentorship programme, the goal is to handpick three aspiring menswear designers and work with them to build collections that will debut exclusively on MR PORTER.
To ring in the launch of the exciting new project, we sat down with Hino, who gave us an insight into his career, how he got started, and what he’s looking forward to from the FUTURES project.
On moving to London and finding his feet in the industry:
“I came over to London when I was about 23, originally as a tourist, but ended up staying here and fell in love with the country. My first job here was in finance, back in the day, but I left it after six months and then landed a job in the publishing world by coincidence, doing marketing for Dazed & Confused magazine. I helped to set up Dazed in Korea, Australia and China. I didn’t have any proper title. I was just kind of working across everything and met so many people. It’s weird because I’ve probably sat in a proper job interview twice in my life, everything else has come naturally through the people around me.”
“I also spent some time working for a fine art gallery called Rock Archive in Islington. One summer, a Japanese guy came to the gallery and left his card, and said, ‘I like what you guys do, so can you get in touch?’ And because I was the only Japanese guy in the studio, even though I was working on a part-time basis, I contacted him. And it turned out he was Junya Watanabe. So, I started talking to him and [the designer] Tao Kurihara; they were working with Dover Street Market and they wanted an exhibition from Rock Archive in the basement. The exhibition didn’t work out in the end, but I was able to keep that connection.”
On his mentor at Beams:
“Eventually, through the gallery, I got in touch with Beams, who decided to start working with Rock Archive. I helped set it all up, and whenever the Beams guys would come to Europe, we’d meet up, and they asked me if I’d be happy to work on the clothing side. I started assisting this guy called Yuji Yamazaki – he was the Beams international buyer back then, and he took me under his wing. Obviously, I liked the clothes as a fan, but I never knew how to do buying and he gave me a totally different perspective. I was eager to pay back Yuji’s trust as well, so I worked hard for him.”
On what he’s hoping to see from the MR PORTER FUTURES applicants:
“When I saw Nick’s [fellow mentor and designer Nicholas Daley] first collection graduation, I could see his cultural roots, one in Scotland the other in Jamaica. He’d kind of, like, put them together. It was amazing, and that’s what the Japanese buyers are always looking for – when people can share some cultural values or things that they’ve accumulated over the years, and then put it into a garment. That’s something you can’t replicate. So, anything like that would be quite exciting to see.”
On where creatives find inspiration:
“Designers obviously go to work in their studios, but when they come home, it’s not like they need to do anything special, and inspiration can come from anything. I used to live with the designer Gareth Pugh. I remember him watching daytime TV and getting inspiration from that. So, for MR PORTER FUTURES, I’m quite excited to see somebody who maybe doesn’t necessarily have much marketing knowledge about demographics and price points and all that kind of stuff, just raw talent. If you have that in your system, this project will help it shine through.”