“Fashion is a big part of Japanese culture. It’s amazing and totally unique. Everyone has a different style and young people use their style to express themselves and their personalities. So it’s easy to know what someone is like by looking at their clothes” says Kohei Takabatake.
Kohei Takabatake is one of Japan’s biggest models. His unmistakable chiseled cheekbones and closely cropped shaved hair make him one of the most prominent male models to watch. Born in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan on March 26, 1997, Kohei was scouted by a stylist in Japan who introduced him to the Paris modeling agency “Bananas Models” in 2017. They immediately fell in love with his look and signed him right away, and this was the start of his modeling career at age 19.
Now, 22 years old, Kohei has taken the fashion world by storm and has appeared on the catwalks of some of the biggest fashion houses in the world, including Versace, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Dior, Paul Smith, Raf Simons and Prada. He has attracted attention from major brands like Coach 1941, and Dolce & Gabbana who cast him as the very first Japanese male model in their print campaigns. He’s been featured in numerous campaigns for Calvin Klein and JW Anderson, and retailers like Zara.
For Fall/Winter 2018-2019, Kohei walked a total of 25 shows during Men’s fashion Week in New York, Milan and Paris, making him the top male model, who walked the most shows. Out of all of the runway shows he’s walked in, he says Prada has been his favorite so far.
To date, Kohei has walked in over 140 runway shows. Two of which he opened, and six in which he closed the show. His passion for clothes began before he started modeling; while in high school he used to frequent thrift shops near his house, and can still be seen wearing some of his favorite pieces. During Fashion Week, you can catch Kohei listening to some of his favorite bands like 5lacks, Mall Grab and Oasis. When he’s not modeling, you can most likely find Kohei shopping.
Since beginning his modeling career in America, Kohei says: “It was very different to walk in Japan compared to walking abroad, but now I’m totally used to it. I’ve learned to be patient and not to rush myself. It’s really important to surrender yourself to the experience, and to try and talk to everyone.” To stand out from other Asian models, Kohei makes sure his English is the best, which is no small feat.
The top three words he uses to describe himself are lucky, happy, and chill. If he weren’t a model, he says he would probably be at university because modeling was never his dream. More than anything, he just wants to have his own family one day.
The young model from the Land of the Rising Sun is with out a doubt one of the hottest male models at the moment and could be very well be the “Next Big Thing.”
Check out our playlist of all things Kohei Takabatake: