Workman Style, Through Japanese Lens

It’s not hard to fall in love with the times that passed — I’m inclined to do so every so often. Indeed, back then cars were more delightful to look at, same goes for much of architecture, music, and design. In 2009, Kai thought the same about style and started thinking how to turn his fascination with workman style and storytelling into something that people might like. At the time, there was only one shop on Grant St., selling shoes. Today, eight years later, when the street is busier than ever, Kai is launching new pieces every season — and is still adamant about crafting them at his studio at Fashion District in Manhattan.

For every new piece, Kai researches references from the era of 1920s and 1930s: movies, music, books, photography to look for references he can use in his work. Some pieces are only made once or twice to create something people would cherish for a long time.

The shop is an eclectic display of clothing, bags, accessories, and home goods. In each piece, Kai says, there’s a spark of tremendous focus and thinking — from stitching to combining different types of cotton and wool, to picking the style of buttons.

KAI D. Utility
Open 1–7, closed on Monday
230 Grand St., Williamsburg
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