Expert denim insider Takuto Mochizuki manages the store Atelier Kizuna based at a breathtaking location in Japan, at the bottom of Mountain Fujiyama. He also manages the team of the company behind it, Fuji High. Mochizuki has previously worked with Canadian denim brand 1921jeans and has become an expert in developing high-end handmade and customized denim lines. The store also offers a thrilling selection of products - mostly customized and almost unique ‘Made in Japan’ jeans. “Most of our clients are adult men who have already gone through that stage of trying many brands. For this they tend to follow their own style, and look for top-quality and one-of-a-kind products, rather than brands,” Mochizuki explains. Interview by Maria Cristina Pavarini

What are the current bestsellers and why?
Current bestsellers are customized jeans. I guess people are looking for something special which they cannot get anywhere else. Among our bestsellers there are the brands @Mt.Fuji and Kizuna. Most of my clients are into jeans look, so they mostly buy basic 5-pocket styles and especially slimmer looks. Some of them also buy military cargo trousers. In addition I have to say that my customers are mainly men – about 80% men and 20% women. For this, men tend to buy according to style whereas women tend to wear brands. For this, men tend to be more interested in buying customized and one-of-a-kind items.

Customized jeans
Customized jeans
Do people buy according to their favorite brand, style, or impulse?
My customers are mainly aged between 35-60 and most of them have already gone through that stage of trying many brands. For this they are now in the stage of following their own style rather than brands.

Where do you order from? How do you inform yourself about trends? How important is the communication with regular customers? How do you communicate with them?
Most of my store’s products are handmade and customized items. In fact people come in and order one-of-kind items.
My store is located at the bottom of Mount Fuji, so people have to drive up to here. I try to spend some time with my customers when they come up and talk about jeans and daily life.

How do the collections you offer for next fall/winter look like?
Our next collections will be characterized by the Japanese ‘Boro’ style that employs indigo color dye. We will also be offering some silver jewelry to be worn with them.

What are the most important trends, in general?

As I mentioned before, most of my customers are style-oriented, not following new trends so much. However, we are encouraging them to add the handmade feel to their looks. 

Did you add any new labels to your assortment?
We recently added the brand called “@ MT.Fuji” that employs fabrics from a local mill called Furuhashi Fabrics. They use high-end fabrics made with a mix of fibers including silk fibers.
We are also planning to start offering other original denim brands that employ Japanese denim fabrics. 

Atelier Kizuma store inside
Atelier Kizuma store inside
How does your store differ from other stores?
Our store carries many one-of-a-kind items, so people can experience that special kind of new feeling of having things just made for them such as special customized items which they cannot find anywhere else. Also the store location is totally different from other stores for its unique atmosphere.

What do you like about your customers?
As most of my customers are coming to our store through our website, they are already well informed about our store’s concept and our own styles. Therefore when they physically enter the store they feel similar to us and catch our same vibe. This way, it is much easier for us to help them.

How important is the interior, the atmosphere and the whole package?

It is very important for us to provide an overall experience when they coming to our store and shop here. That is why we are located in the middle of nowhere. People have to drive up towards Mt Fuji, and then find our store which is surrounded by nature. Accessibility is not so friendly, but once they come to the shop, they will experience a very unique jeans store in such a location.
Overall, our store is a jean store where so many people come to talk about jeans, have them repaired and customized. We can provide a wide range of designs and styles such as, for instance, ‘European’, ‘American Casual’ and ‘Japanese wa-bi style’...

Atelier Kizuma mountain studio
Atelier Kizuma mountain studio

Atelier Kizuna
1-36 Utogawahigashi
417-0853 Japan
+81545 52 6619