People in the World | Yoshio Yokobori
Meet Yoshio Yokobori, an all-rounder person in fashion whom we acquainted a year back at a trade show. Every now and then, we meet some really cool people from around the world and this time we’re lucky to have bumped into Yoshio. With many experience in fashion, Yoshio has worked in all lines of jobs related to this industry from buying to markerting and even in sales!
Yoshio is also a jetsetter who is constantly on-to-go and he even travels up to 2 countries in one week when he has conferences. He is currently working as a registered advisor for international business in SME Support Organization, It is one of the organizations under the Japanese government. This week, we managed to steal some of his time and speak to Yoshio.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Tokyo in 1979. I started working in a fashion company in Tokyo when I was 18 years old. I have worked as a shop manager, area manager for chain stores and sales for designers brand, marketing for brands and shops, buyer, distributor etc. I did many kinds of job in fashion. Right now, my main job for the past three years is that I am a contract buyer.
There are very few companies in Asia who wants to order good Japanese brands. Hence, most Japanese brands and designer companies never tried doing overseas business in a long time although there was a huge market for domestic market in Japan. Most Japanese do not have any experience in overseas business but they still desire to do business.
Most international buyers can’t get any upcoming designers until they will come to Paris or NY Fashion Week. So that is where I come in.
The international buyers contact me and I can let them trade easily and help do negotiations for business conditions, control delivery schedules and special orders for limited editions items.
Some people call me a ‘Professional assistant buyer’ or ‘Solo buying office’.
I know my job is very interesting and I enjoy myself everyday.
What do you love about your job?
I love my job because I can meet so many wonderful people and I have made a lot of friends from around the world. I meet up with them every month if possible.
Where are you currently residing?
Actually, I am not residing anywhere, I am residing everywhere! I have been living in a few cities; Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong. Four years ago, I changed my mainly job to contract buyer and I have conferences every week in each city. I have taken a lot of flights while holding this job. Last year, I had 106 flights! That is 2 flights per week! I simply can’t reside in one spot.
But I think Tokyo is like DJ. Tokyo doesn’t have own culture.
Tokyo is mix of all cultures from overseas. Japanese don’t have long history like that of Europe and China. We developed as a mashup of many cultures, even religion. You know like how some single CD has a B-track that is mixed by a famous DJ? The main tracks are suddenly different and you can hear and feel it as a new song. This is Tokyo.
What are the languages that you are able to speak?
Only Japanese and simplified English. I know I have to learn English and I remind myself many times but I am lazy. When I was 21, I made a French friend who was into skateboarding. He taught me both skateboarding and English. As days goes by, I learn to speak better but in broken English.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I am just norm core.
I am always moving around so I can’t keep a lot of clothes. Usually when I buy one, I dump the old one.
Then again, I am always wearing my black baseball cap, white t-shirt or shirt, Khaki short trousers and skateboarding shoes. That’s all.
Share with us some of your favourite stores in Japan.
I like exciting fashion like:
Fake Tokyo (Tokyo)
I also like fashion that includes life style such as:
What kind of music are you listening to now?
I love melancholy music from Radiohead and Portishead.
Sometimes, I listen to instrumental hip hop from artists like nujabes and his label’s artistes.
I also like RAKUGO; traditional comic storytelling.
What do you do in your free time?
I couldn’t swim in a long time ever since I have a tattoo when I was 18. In Japan, people with tattoos are not allowed to swim in public pools or take a shower in public baths.
Which would you choose; Android, blackberry or Iphone?
I have an Iphone5s which I bought when I was in Hong Kong.
Japanese mobile phones uses a SIM LOCK and it can’t use other SIM cards.
What is your favourite social media application? And why?
Because it is a social media application that is registered by everyone. I am always chatting on Facebook message with my friends from around world. I have over 1800 real friends on Facebook, ranging from a high school student in Thailand and to a famous designer in Paris.
Lastly, what do you think is the most attractive quality in a person?
It is experience.
I don’t work together with anyone who does not have any experience because one who do not have any experience has not known any pain, regret or remorse.
Like what Bruce lee said in his movie,
“Don’t think, but feel. Feeling is just experience”.
Text by: ActuallyMAG
*Images courtesy of Yoshio Yokobori
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