Daiki Suzuki is not only an amazing man, he is also an amazing designer. In 1989 he came to the U.S. as a buyer who brought hunting gear and American work wear to Japan. Near the millennium he started the iconic clothing line Engineered Garments. The brand is heralded worldwide by casuals and those who enjoy classic yet refined work wear. In 2006, he became head designer of Woolrich Woolen Mills, where “every garment has a purpose.” They create classic American sportswear and the project itself “originates from the desire to create unique items for their simplicity and authenticity.
How he starts his day: I get a cup of coffee on the corner, first thing in the morning. I check emails at my desk, maybe do some paperwork. And when I’m ready, I just come here. This round table is where all the planning and designing happens.
Where he got it: I got the table off the street about 10 years ago in Tribeca. I was drunk, and I was walking after midnight, and I saw this table. It was so heavy, we needed three people, so I got two friends of mine, and the three of us loaded it up. Ever since, it’s been the planning table.
What he does there: I draw most of the time. Before the process I have so many ideas, but the hard part is how you pick things, and put them together to make them look like what you want. In the beginning it’s really busy inside the brain, but you’re not actually moving anything; it’s working, but it doesn’t really look like working.
Working tunes: Today it’s classical, but sometimes it’s ’70s American rock. I love music from England; I was really into New Wave. I still go see Echo and the Bunnymen. Those guys are still doing great.
How he gets is all done: I come here very early in the morning, when no one is around. There’s a good two hours with maybe one other person here. After 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., everybody leaves, so I get two or three hours that I can be here alone. I actually come here every weekend, too. I go surfing in the morning and then I come back in the city around 12 or 1 o’clock. I shower, get dressed, and come up here. I stay all night—sometimes I fall asleep here, if I’ve used too much energy in the water.
Where he surfs: Long Beach, NY. Me and my friends get together at 5:00 in the morning, get out there at 6:30, watch the sun come up, and jump in the water.
Why he surfs: It’s becoming a bigger and bigger thing for me. When you work like this, you need a break. Just to go out there, and be in the ocean, is really great for me. I can’t live without it now. I work so hard on the weekdays, but I’m always thinking about the weekend, and how the waves are going to be. I never surfed until last summer, but I love the culture, the fashion. I grew up in Japan in the 1970s and at that time we got so much inspiration from the states. Everything was new to us. One of the first things that came from the states was a west coast lifestyle like skateboard and surfing—the pocket tee shirts, the Ocean Pacific corduroy shorts, and windbreakers. All those kind of things. What I did for Woolrich for next spring was based on what I remember from my teenage years.