People | 20 QUESTIONS

Junko Naito: Living and working a la mode

by Misha Janette

Contributing Writer

Name: Junko Naito
Age: It’s a secret
Nationality: Japanese
Occupation: Fashion public relations, Esteem Press (www.esteem.jp)
Likes: Delicious food
Dislikes: Freeway tunnels


1. What made you want to start working in public relations? It started when I read newspaper articles about the PR people for Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons. I wanted to do that too, so I looked for a PR job right out of school and luckily I got one. I’ve been doing it ever since. I went freelance after being inspired by the PR personnel in Paris.

2. If you could only wear one or two fashion items for the rest of your life what would they be? Gray nail polish and a Rolex watch. I’m the type of person who gets anxious if my hands don’t always look the same, since I have to look at them everyday.

3. How do you choose which brands to represent? To me it depends on whether I can imagine what the brand will be like in one year’s time. But really, the most important thing is how we get along.

4. Where do you find peace and calm in Tokyo? Definitely in Daikanyama. I have not only worked here but I have also lived here for many years, so I almost feel like this neighborhood is my hometown.

5. Can you tell us your favorite hidden spot in Daikanyama? It’s a standing-only takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and bar joint called Daikanyama Tempu, and I love it because the manager there is hilarious! Lots of different people are always there, so it’s always an interesting experience.

6. What do you think about fast-fashion culture? There are a lot of problems to fix, but at the same time I feel that it allows us to easily get stylish, put together new outfits and enjoy fashion on some level — so I don’t think it is necessarily bad.

7. What do you think is the biggest difference between streetwear and high-fashion? To me, there is no line that separates the two.

8. If you didn’t have a showroom for your clients what would you be doing? I would still be running from this studio to that studio, with a cell phone in one hand, in search of fashion everyday.

9. You’ve worked in fashion for around 30 years. What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry? There is just too much that has changed. … I feel I am at that age when I am facing a lot of these big changes.

10. If you had to watch one movie for the rest of your life what would it be? “Bagdad Cafe” (1987). The film and its music are beautiful and they remind me of the wonderful trips I had when I was young and will probably never be able to experience again.

11. What is the hardest part about your job? That time is always out to get me, and that I can’t put down my phone for a second.

12. Who do you respect the most? My mother. She is gentle, and is complimented on her kindness all the time. I feel that I need to learn this from her.

13. What do you do when you’re bored on the train? Check social media and get updates on the news.

14. If you could dress anyone in history, who would you choose? I cannot think of anyone …

15. What does the kanji of your first name mean? Does it match your personality? “Jun” (純), which means “pure.” I always try to be honest everyday, and honesty is something I hold dear. I am very consistent with everything so in that way, I guess it does reflect my personality.

16. What Japanese phrase do you like the most? “たおやか” (“taoyaka“) meaning graceful.” It’s ambiguous and sounds kind of strange, but I like the image it conjures in my mind — a beautiful, graceful woman.

17. If you could be any superhero, who would you be? It would be great if there was a superhero out there that offered chances and funding to designers. If he or she existed, that’s who I would want to be.

18. What would you say to encourage young people today? Please do all the things that you can only do when young and while you have the chance!

19. If you could be anything for Halloween what would you be? I don’t usually dress up for Halloween, but if I did, I guess I would be a witch. I am always in black clothing anyway.

20. Tell us something about yourself that people may not know? I don’t like cats. If I see a stray cat on the road, I’ll cross the street. That’s how much I don’t like them.