Kenichi Kusano





Find out little-known yet interesting facts about clothing through the words of discerning designers who have been creating
essential masterpieces for BEAMS PLUS collections.
The crucial new philosophy of BEAMS PLUS,
“Updating timeless classics for the future,” cannot be achieved without their wealth of knowledge.


Kenichi Kusano (Designer of KENNETH FIELD)Born in 1969, Kusano joined BEAMS in 1996. After participating in the launch of BEAMS+, he became the director of the brand in 2004. He then left the company and established his own brand KENNETH FIELD in 2012. With the concept of “For NEW TRADITIONALIST,” he has been designing collections based on traditional styles seen in the U.S. after the 1980s, while incorporating various cultures and past trends in the world. With his brand known especially for its wide and deep range of ties, Kusano was selected as THE LATEST FASHION BUZZ in 2014 by L’Uomo Vogue and GQ Italia.

It’s a fun garment
that has been changed in
accordance with American history.

From his own collection of vintage ties.
He is still collecting those.

It was originally designed in England
as a decorative neckband,
and later
divided into scarves and neckties.

“The history of neckties is quite long, and the garment is said to have its origin in England. According to a material I have, there is a 19th-century description that clearly distinguishes it from other types of scarves. By then, people used a tie just to fill a space under a collar. It wasn’t something to protect the wearer from cold, but to adorn around the neck. Early ties were, therefore, large in width and made from silk. Although people in the older times just crisscrossed it around the neck and pinned in the middle, they later began to tie it into a bow. Since around then, men’s accessory tied around their neck has been called a necktie. Because it originated in England, it might be used as an adornment that showed the rank of the wearer. It was also made from silk, while some of those were made with Madras. As the name suggests, the fabric was originally made in a city in India, so it was perhaps more available for British people as India used to be their colony. Everything connects like that.”

“The oldest tie in my collection was probably made in America in the 1930s. This piece looks just like today’s neckties. Bow ties and ascot ties have also existed at that time. The characteristics of American-made ties varied depending on the time of production, because the design of a tie was determined according to a shirt collar shape, lapel width and design, as well as pants rise. For example, bold patterns were used for ties more often in the 1940s, although many of the ties made in the 1930s featured fine patterns. I think it was because the Bold Look style characterized by double-breasted suits became very popular in the 1940s. After the Second World War began, the material of ties shifted from silk to rayon due to the wartime material controls.”

A 1950s vintage tie
from Kusano’s own collection.

Not just the width, but also
the coloration and patterns of ties
have changed according to the times.

“During the 1950s, ties were mostly made with conservative patterns, while the design became sharp and smart with the popularity of the slender Mr. ‘T’ Look” as a backlash against the Bold Look in the 1940s. On the whole, however, the patterns and widths of ties made in the 1950s range widely from the wide-width ones seen in the early half to the narrow ones in the latter. The width of ties became even narrower in the 1960s as the size of shirt collars got smaller and trousers were designed with narrower legs. In the 1970s, the width of ties got much wider again and the coloration and patterns became vivid and bold. After the peacock revolution in the late 1960s, more and more men wore vividly colored clothes and the difference between men’s fashion and women’s fashion blurred. And some European brands such as pierre cardin and Christian Dior were introduced to the U.S. around the same time. Such trends were usually created in England and then brought to and spread across America.”

Ties made in the 1970s are characterized
by the wide and straight design.

“Because the U.S. market of the time was based on the idea of mass production and consumption, people focused more on, for example, maximizing sewing efficiency to cut as many parts as possible from a piece of cloth, or on developing durable materials than on paying scrupulous attention to details like Italian artisans. In the 1950s, washable, wrinkle-free knit ties made with Dacron fabric (A high-performance polyester fiber developed by U.S. Dupont) began to be sold, although the design of a knit tie had already been made in the 1920s. I find such a difference in material usage quite interesting.”

KENNETH FIELD has a wide range of bold and vivid ties.

“Ties we design for KENNETH FIELD exaggeratingly express little joys in everyday life. I know I’m not the right person to say this, but for me, the ultimate design of a tie is a navy, simple and conservative one. However, such design is strictly for highly fashionable persons. People who just started to wear a tie should go for something like a regimental tie, because it looks okay even if it’s not knotted properly. That is the reason for its popularity among younger generations. I hope young people use the tie as an introductory item that guides them on their journey to a classic navy tie. Despite often being described as narrow for current trends, KENNETH FIELD ‘s ties don’t have a difference in the width of the two ends. So, you can easily adjust the length to fit with the width of your jacket lapel. The item is more versatile than it looks.”

The Cool Biz campaign has
weakened the industry,
but it also
clarified the fact that a
necktie is a piece of luxury goods.

“When I launched KENNETH FIELD in 2012, the idea of Cool Biz was widely known across Japan. People around me even warned me that neckties wouldn’t be sellable. But I just wanted to make something cheerful that I can wear around my neck, and the result became a necktie. So simple like that. That is true that the Cool Biz campaign has weakened the industry, but if you look at it from the other side, it clarified the fact that a necktie is a piece of luxury goods. If you are really into the item and willingly dig into it, you may buy a prestigious seven-fold tie from brands like E. Marinella in Napoli. After all, I just would like people to enjoy ties as a decorative accessory.”

Most of interlining fabrics used for
the brand’s products are wool and cut in bias.

“I always tell our customers to roll up a tie after use and leave it overnight. Do you know why? Every necktie has a lining fabric inside which is cut in bias to make it easier to knot and to un-wrinkle. Although wrinkles on the lining of a tie become difficult to get rid of after being worn for 5-6 hours, you can easily get the wrinkles out if you roll the tie up and leave it overnight. Then, hang it on a rack. A necktie is just one of items that make up an outfit and not quite essential, but I do want you to enjoy wearing it as long as possible.”

Shop Info.

The products shown in this article are
available at BEAMS PLUS stores.