Workers, Okayama

Photography Ken Tisuthiwongse and Ryan Willms


In November of 2011, we took the Shinkansen from Tokyo to visit the designer Takashi Tateno in his hometown of Okayama. Having long been admirers of his brand, Workers, we were excited for the day that lay ahead. Aside from following his work online, or spotting the occasional piece on the back of an acquaintance, this was our first opportunity to see the full range garments and meet the man behind the cult brand.

Takashi has been able to grow his small company by developing close personal relationships with a handful of fabric suppliers and factories around Okayama. While he still makes all of the samples himself in his small studio, he uses renowned local manufactures to produce some of the finest vintage-inspired garments in the world. His passion for research, combined with Okayama's legendary fabric mills and production capabilities, have won him a loyal fan base in Japan, and his work is now beginning to be recognized to a greater degree overseas.

As well as laying the foundations for the feature that appeared in our seventh issue, we also began work on a set of samples for three items made by Workers for Inventory: an olive army fatigue shirt, a blue chambray work shirt, and a pair of 5-pocket jeans.