Although vintage surf wear revivalist Yellow Rat has been turning heads in certain circles for some time, it hasn’t been until very recently that the brand reached a wider audience, courtesy of its pop-up space at Nepenthes NY. Designer/surfer Kio Inagaki makes some of the best renditions of ’50s surf-inspired clothing out there, complete with boxy fits, heavy pleats and Barry McGee-designed graphics. On the back of his pop-up at Nepenthes, a collaborative release with THE NORTH FACE and nanamica soon followed, which added to the online chatter late last month. In one of his first apparent interviews on the subject, Kio recently spoke with London-based collective Peach Fuzz about the brand, its inspiration, and his own hankering for tasty waves.
Check out an extract below and head over to Peach Fuzz for the complete feature.
Kio, where does your interest in surf wear (particularly vintage) come from?
The inspiration comes from California beach culture of the late ’40s through early ’60s. I’m a surfer myself and I used to collect surf trunks from this era and Yellow Rat was born in an attempt to replicate those, and evolved to recreating the whole fashion style from this time.
What is it about ’50s / ’60s surf culture that interests you? Do you feel that, aesthetically, this is coming around again?
Both in surf and in beach fashion, it was the Golden Era. It was the beginning of the surf culture and their style was plain and simple, yet completely original. There was no surf brands, mass-producers, or any of those fancy trends. And that still inspires me. I really don’t pay much attention to trends, so not sure if this is coming around again. But I understand if people are starting to get sick of those mega brands, and begin to pay attention to what is actually stylish.