Tomihiro Kono started as a hairstylist in a small village in Japan, but now he is designing hairpieces in a city where most people can only dream about, New York. He worked together with several designers to create the most extravagant hairpieces for their shows and now he launched his book called Head Prop where he explains his design process. We had the opportunity to talk with this master of hair about his work.
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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who is Tomihiro?
I grew up in the country of Ehime, in the south of Japan. My village was surrounded by nature, just by the sea and behind my house was orange farm mountain. Since it was such a tiny village, there weren’t many kids. I had many girlfriends around me that I used to play with. I would catch insects or make a secret base. I also liked to make original toys and tools which I would call “my new inventions” – so I think I have been a creator since then. I used to play in nature a lot and that was my main playground.
Where does your love for hair come from? How did you career in hair begin?
As I told you it was such a countryside where I used to live, I didn’t have many places to go out. So it was a joy for me to go to a hair salon to get my hair done nicely. It was like when you start being interested in fashion as a teenager. I wanted to be like the hairdresser guy who used to cut my hair. I thought it would be cool to be like him.
You were born in Japan and then moved in 2007 to London – at the moment you are living in New York. It seems like you have seen it all. Which city feels like home for you?
Yes, I have seen a lot by now. I wasn’t expecting myself living and working in different cities. So far London is my home because I have many friends there, but I would love to live in Paris too. I like traveling and moving to different places. It inspires me a lot.
Did for instance your style changed while you were living in London or New York?
It really affects my style. I would say I am very adjustable to the places. I feel people are different, how they work in the fashion industry is different so I try to think how I should deal with my situation next and I enjoy changing my style by adjusting to the places. I think that’s how I make my originality in the end.
You created hair pieces for the collections of designer Junya Watanabe; can you tell us more about your collaboration?
Our collaboration started off with my proposals. I was given total freedom of expression to create my own designs. It was a good training for me to search for ideas to create new forms and find out a clear concept in design. I learned so much during this process, it’s been a great opportunity for me to focus on my head props and bring all my ideas and concepts to light.
Can you tell us something about the new projects you are working on?
For me it’s important to always move forward, searching for new ideas, inspirations and collaborations, I never want to feel static or 'typecast' as having one style. I am always seeking to learn new things and keeping my work and myself in progress. I’ve started making wigs from scratch at the end of last year. For me it is one of meditations knotting hair into lace cap one by one. It is special for me to have my personal time concentrating on that. I’ve prepared all the equipments for it and am excited to make more one-off wigs. I’ve found more possibilities in wig designs right now. I am planning a special project with my partner Sayaka Maruyama which will showcase my handmade wigs.
What about Konomad?
We’ve made books of each project we have done together since 2007. Now we’ve officially started Konomad editions, which is an independent publisher. For now we are focused on our own personal work and publish it as a book. Head Prop is going to be the Konomad edition No.001.
Head Prop will be published on 1st April 2017 and it will be distributed by Idea Books, book will be available for sale at Konomad Editions  // Launch opening Friday April 7th from 6pm to 8pm, at OFFICE MAGAZINE newsstand at Canal Street Market, Canal Street Market 265, New York  // Coming Exhibitions: 2-26 August 2017 at Place by Method, #14,1-3-1 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
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