Wears and Wares
Fashion design can sometimes be more of a calling than a profession. It’s definitely not a field where you can just phone in your performance.
Ideas need to be made clear from the very beginning, before being workshopped and worked over again and again until a sample has finally been produced.
And with the rise of independent fashion brands from many talented designers, it takes a lot of work, time, and dedication to stand out from the competition.
For an inside look at the importance of accessories in the modern fashion industry, we spoke with an accessory designer who has plenty of first-hand experience in the area.
The Man on the Inside
With a background in advertising and design, Tatsuya Otake decided to make the pivot to product design.
He currently works with jewelry and accessory brand 8.6.4., based in New York City. His designs for the brands include leather goods such as handbags and sleek and stylish jewelry that can work in many different settings.
When we spoke with Otake, it was clear that he’s the kind of designer with a grand vision in place, one that he’s been unfolding for years now, and one that will continue on for years to come.
8.6.4 has given him the perfect opportunity to show off his unique design sensibility. And it’s certainly impressive that he’s been able to maintain that sensibility in what can sometimes be a muddled market.
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How did you first become interested in fashion design?
I was always into fashion from an early age. My mother had a sewing machine at home so I used to buy different fabrics and scraps of leather and make bags and clothes as a hobby.
So what was it like to learn the intricate details of how to make leather goods and other apparel items?
Every season I make new styles and use different materials so I’m always very excited to learn about new methods for making leather goods.
First, I come up with the initial ideas and develop a rough sample. Then I decide the specific size and details, the type of leathers to be used, etc.
Then I meet with leather suppliers to get some crucial advice, then I choose the leathers. I also work with local manufacturers for the production stage. They have over 30 years of experience so sometimes they’ll teach me about the techniques they use.
On Creating Appealing Products
How were you able to blend your own design sensibility with that of 8.6.4?
I take inspiration from everyday objects and a traditional Japanese aesthetic. I like to blend simplicity and organic design when making pieces for 8.6.4.
Do you have a different mindset when you’re designing a website rather than a physical product?
I design products, take pictures, and create visuals, but it is all connected so I think it is ultimately the same mindset.
The Importance of Lifestyle Visuals
When deciding on visuals to promote a product, how do you make sure that these visuals will catch the attention of audiences?
I spend lots of time making lifestyle visuals with a model. This makes it easier for potential customers to visualize how to wear these pieces with different outfits.
For the product images, I like to use natural light, especially for jewelry. Spacing and simplicity are important to catch attention. I use lots of different backgrounds for jewelry. Wood, cloth, marble, and handmade papers work very well.
Do you think it’s possible for product design and web design to be seamlessly integrated?
Yes, I design the products and the website is an important platform for me to showcase my work.
What are some design projects you would love to work on but haven’t had the opportunity to start?
I would like to make leather sandals and organic cotton t-shirts in the near future. But only time will tell.
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Tatsuya Otake is a Creative Director for 8.6.4 in New York City.
Links to Otake and his work can be found here: