SSENSE sits down with Motofumi "Poggy" Kogi, the buyer of United Arrows & Sons for a chat about how A.I. will change the way we experience retail today, what makes a good collaboration and how is taste in music influence his personal style.
Check out a few excerpts below and head over to SSENSE to check out the full interview.
With the rise of e-commerce, there are now way more brands that sell directly to their customers, without a middleman. Do you think that multi-brand retailers like United Arrows will continue to be important?
Our business is going to shrink, probably. At the rate A.I. is improving, in five or 10 years, maybe we’re going to lose our jobs. But in the meantime, it’s really important to see faces. Even though A.I. might make us irrelevant, doing the job you like can still make you happy. If people are coming to the store, it means people are coming to you, so that’s a very happy thing. Maybe eventually someone can turn my sensibilities into A.I. and make a new store using that. I’ll sell my mind and then I won’t have to go to work anymore. [Laughs]
You mentioned a collaboration with adidas—what do you think makes a good collaboration?
So, in Japanese tradition, when you get married, we say musubareru, which means we are knotted together. It’s a very, very important cultural thing for us. For example, if you go to a countryside shrine you might see a big, old tree with huge strings knotted around it—that’s because people believe those knots contain the spirit of gods, kami. So, that might be a little exaggerated, but collaboration should be between friends with this same mindset. Nowadays, people say, “Hey, it’s a collaboration,” and it’s just business.
Interview: Adam Wray
Photography: Monika Mogi