Founder Toshikiyo Hirata's unconventional spin on heritage techniques has made Kapital a coveted denim head brand.
The Kapital denim collection fuses the best of both denim worlds: Japan’s denim capitol of Kojima, for which the label is named, as well as vintage American workwear.
Founded in 1984 by Toshikiyo Hirata, the brand has since put its unconventional spin on multiple categories for both men and women without ever losing the heritage production techniques that harken back to a more hard-scrabble time. Kapital operates multiple product facilities where the denim is treated, washed and even sometimes downright tortured until it provides the requisite cool edge. “We use all sorts of dyeing materials and techniques, not just traditional natural dyes but also synthetic dyes and newer techniques. As the Kapital brand, we respect the tradition very much, but we also have to enjoy challenging the norm,” Toshikiyo’s son and the brand’s head designer Kiro Hirata, said in an interview with the Canadian streetwear destination Haven. “In our Kountry factory, there are about 30 technicians in our development team who are challenged with the task of creating new traditions.”
The mash-up of tradition and outré styles reflects the father-son roots of the brand. Toshikiyo Hirata brings the old-school denim know-how, while Kiro Hirata’s love of art adds the unexpected element, according to Heddels. “Working together for over a decade, we’ve learned how to work as a pair with mutual trust and understanding,” Kiro said. “It is like using chopsticks, once you’ve learned how to work together, you can do some pretty intricate things.”
Kapital is sold at boutiques and online stores around the world like Mr. Porter, Yoox, Bird Brooklyn and Blue Button Shop as well as in a string of company-owned stores in Japan that are as shape-shifting and surprising as the clothes with each location taking on the local flavor. “In our stores, we call each floor a ‘stage.’ Every customer plays a leading role on our stage. We want the stage ready for the leading roles to express the best in his or herself, and for every play to be wonderfully happy,” the younger Hirata stated.