Sneaker freak Japanese chef who swaps food for the latest Off-Whites – and queues hours for jewellery

  • AJs, Air Force 1s, Nike SBs, Off-Whites – Hong Kong-based Shun Sato has over 200 pairs of trainers, and loves vintage kimonos, and denim of course
  • He once queued 10 hours in Harajuku, Tokyo, with singer/actor Shawn Yue to buy Goro hand-made jewellery
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 12:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 1:36pm

Shun Sato, chef at Hong Kong Japanese restaurant Fukuro, brings Japanese flavour to a wardrobe filled with one-of-a-kind treasures and limited-edition trainers. While Sato loves a uniform – denim and kimono-style jackets are staples – he makes sure his look is his alone by sourcing materials himself and acquiring footwear and jewellery not available for general release.

“I have a lot of kimonos. I pick up the materials by myself, and the designs are made from kimonos that are more than 100 years old,” Sato says. “There’s a denim one that is Visvim and that’s always good material – expensive stuff. I find the materials myself in Japan. Or when I wanted to do a bandana, I contacted a friend in the US to look for some paisley and flannel.”

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Styles Sato wears for work

“At Fukuro, chefs wear indigo pants and a T-shirt. Japanese people love denim, so we wear basically a pair of chef’s pants, but we changed the colour to indigo to look like denim. And floor staff wear a denim jacket and T-shirt and bandana. I really love [the material], so basically I talked to the boss about making [the uniform] in denim.”

Styles Sato wears for leisure

“It’s always still denim, a T-shirt and then jewellery, simple things. I like to wear double RL, the denim is really nice. And then Visvim, a Japanese brand, I always wear. I have a lot of friends who are fashion designers, including [Visvim’s] Hiroki Nakamura, so I always go to pop-ups and shows for their collections.”

Shun’s essential accessories

“I’m a sneaker freak. My friend just gave me the Off-White Prestos. No line! My favourite trainers – I like Nike SBs, but now they’re going a bit downhill, so I might go for AJs [Air Jordans] or Air Force 1s. I have more than 200 pairs of trainers. But some are just for display. I always buy two pairs of each. One is for wearing, one is for selling. If I resell and get more money.

“When I was younger, chefs always made s*** money, and I made a lot of friends with people who worked in fashion at brands like Supreme, who were also young and didn’t make a lot.

“Since we were in the same group, I would invite them to the restaurant, give them free food, and then they would give me the staff price or family price to buy things, like 40 or 60 per cent off. And now it keeps going – maybe they come to Hong Kong, I invite them to Fukuro for dinner, and they might bring me some Off-White shoes for free.

Shun’s must-have necklaces

“My necklaces are by Goro’s, it’s basically traditional Japanese Indian jewellery. You can get it only in Japan in Harajuku, and a lot of people go there to wait 10 hours. Famous people like Shawn Yue love it. But [Goro’s] makes each piece one by one, handmade. I went once with Shawn Yue actually, and we waited the 10 hours, and the shop is really tiny, and it’s hard to get in.

“It’s like a gamble – and it’s not expensive [to make] actually, but because so many people want it, they can charge a high price. One bald eagle could be HK$200,000. When I asked them for an eagle – they say ‘F*** you. Look at what you’re wearing, it’s your first time.’

“And they don’t want to sell it to me. It’s just to VIPs. These guys are like gangsters, and everybody wants to contact them. People want it, and so staff don’t want to sell it. If you walk in wearing other jewellery – get out. Wear a plain T-shirt, denim, wait 10 hours. Goro’s jewellery also tarnishes and loses its shine, so when you go in and it’s still shining, they know you are a beginner.”

Shun’s trendy tattoos

“I have seven tattoos. It’s all family. My daughter, my family name, my cousin’s name, and grandma’s name. There is a horseshoe and then I have a marriage tattoo.

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“One says Faith, because my grandma told me before she passed away that I need to trust people. Then I have my dad’s family crest. When I have stress, I go get a tattoo.”