Kosuke Takaya: ‘There’s a very funny element in not realizing the absurdity of your own style’


The witty short film Buy Bling, Get One Free revolves around fashion-minded Kamono. He thinks he is a real trendsetter with his see-through jacket, feather shorts and patterned panty-hose. But his friends just don’t get it. “What’s wrong with my fashion?!”, he wonders.

Buy Bling, Get One Free is the debut of young director TAKAYA Kosuke (1986). I met up with him in Rotterdam to ask him some questions about his film and what triggered him to make it.

Buy Bling, Get One Free is about a fashionable young guy, who gets caught up in the craziness of the fashion industry. Why did you want to turn this story into a movie?
‘I am personally very interested in fashion, and I think many people are. Most people pay at least some attention to what others wear, and they think about what they wear themselves. Some feel very confident wearing unusual clothes. I thought it would make a good topic for a comedy. Also, I made this movie as part of a project called New Directions, a programme funded by the Japanese Ministry of Culture. One of the requirements was that the movie should be appealing to an international audience. The Harajuku district where the story takes place is known worldwide for its fashion scene.”

On the one hand, the main character is very explicit about his own style and doesn’t seem to think too much about other people’s opinions. At the same time, he is craving attention and recognition from others. How did you come up with this character?
‘In Japan, we have a saying of which I know no equivalent in English: but it says that if you dress up, you can create an image for yourself. People like to dress up, but besides that, people will wear anything as long as you can make them believe it’s fashionable. The main character is a very clear example of this. He has a very explicit style at first, but after he gets cast as a model, he starts to believe that plain grey sweaters actually suit him.’
(Kosuke shows a picture on his phone of a fashion model wearing a grey jersey outfit)
‘This picture was sent to me by someone who saw my movie. It is a real picture from an existing fashion catalogue. It looks exactly like the outfits in my movie! (laughs) This just shows how real the movie actually is, despite its absurdity.’

In the movie it is said a few times that “thinking out of the box” or being a trendsetter is easily misunderstood by others. Is it something that you want the viewers to think about?
‘Actually, when I started writing the script last year in August, I thought back of how I used to be a couple of years back. I used to dress up in extreme outfits, like the main character does. Only in hindsight do I feel that my style was indeed a bit strange, but at that point in my life I didn’t even think about that. I thought there was a very funny element in not realizing the absurdity of your own style.’

Can you reveal something about your next project?
‘Somebody actually suggested that I should make a sequel to Buy Bling, Get One Free, or that I should make a long version of it. I might actually try that! In any case I want to continue making films.’

Published October 5th, 2014 on http://camerajapan.nl/2014/10/04/interview-with-takaya-kosuke-1986/