i first came across the yuasa brand at the capsule menswear tradeshow this past january and loved their minimal approach to men's boxers. i especially fell in love with their leather boxers, immediately imagining them as a staple in my summer wardrobe. as a little lady, i would wear any of their boxers, to sleep in or for the everyday. i met up with michael and his boyfriend james who run yuasa together last month to hear more about their brand. they had just moved into a new place in the west village. we talked parties, collaborations and their simple yet unique approach to men's underwear over a hot tea during the perfect sunday snowstorm. their digs had wonderful plant life and an awesome old fireplace. i'm excited to see what michael and james will do with yuasa next. i also hope to collaborate with them someday soon since they're as kind and cool as they come. this summer all i want to do is frolic around in some yuasa boxers, just like the male models in their andreas lux shoot featured here.
more about yuasa below:
cultureisland: tell us more about you.
michael yuasa: i grew up in seattle, washington and was living there before moving to nyc. i used to throw a lot of parties in seattle, which were always really fun to do. we had a great following! i was tour managing as well as releasing records however i knew that in the long run promoting parties would not necessarily be sustainable and the music industry was shaky. a clothing line seemed like it would be more sustainable in the long run and continue to keep me motivated from a creative perspective. from there yuasa was born and launched a few months after arriving in nyc.
cultureisland: tell us more about yuasa.
michael yuasa: yuasa strives to create clothing that is simple yet powerful, paying homage to the modern american design aesthetic: minimal, experimental, and innovative. the brand started as a platform for all of my artistic and creative interests. the boxers are the physical product combining my interests in fashion, photography, art and lifestyle. it's also about exploring the evolution of creative expression and working on a collective product where i can involve my friends in totally opposing worlds. our sole product is a men's short cut boxer, every season we introduce a few new colors. i wanted to create a boxer that could be worn under jeans comfortably or around the house. the boxers from other brands that are currently available in the market are long and clumsy and totally devoid of sexiness. yuasa boxers were designed to make you feel desirable, sexy and confident.
cultureisland: what kind of collaborations have you done?
michael yuasa: when i started the brand i knew that i wanted collaborations with other artists or like minded companies to be a part of our dna as a brand. our main ongoing collaboration is the yuasa photo series which we have been releasing periodically over the last year. each few months we put together a shoot with an up and coming photographer. at the most recent shoot andreas lux shot michael baily gates, who i've been wanting to shoot for so long. i love how the shoot came out, the guy of yuasa appears more multifaceted and complex and the shoot adds a lifestyle glimpse into the brand. the andreas lux shoot was styled by my friend david casavant who is beginning to make waves with his personal archive. we have also previously worked with remi lamande and shannon sinclair. the photo series are awesome as we get to collaborate with photographers and stylists in an intimate setting and dive deeper into who the yuasa man is, exploring him. last year, for pride we did a collaboration with international playground and visual aids where we printed four images from photographer benjamin fredrickson's photos on yuasa boxers in support of visual aids. we sold the boxers at international playground and at printed matter nyc with the funds raised going to visual aids.
cultureisland: how do you hope to grow the brand in the future?
michael yuasa: i want to have more fun with the brand in the future, we're working on getting out our made to order leather boxer campaign now and we are working on designing a few swim trunks. for the summer, i want to have a tie dye collection. it's really interesting to see how we will start with a design idea and it will lead us to some amazing location. the swim trunks will give us reason to do beach shoots in the winter and get out of nyc which sounds like a good plan to me. we will of course continue to build out our mens essential offerings with the adding of briefs and trunks to the line.
cultureisland: what are your favorite places to see art, shop, get coffee, eat and hang out around the west village?
michael yuasa: my boyfriend james and i just moved to the west village. there's not a lot here that we haven't seen already, but it's awesome to be so close to the chelsea galleries. i really like installations by diana thater, she had one at david zwirner a few weeks ago. i'm really into sound and lighting immersive experiences. i've lived in nyc for five years now and james for eight so i'm really excited to explore new neighborhoods. i love hanging out at kenka on st. marks for some izakaya cheap eats and a sopporo for $1.50. my favorite coffee is caffé vita in the lower east side on ludlow. once the weather warms up a bit more we'll probably continue riding our bikes east to boerum hill and deep brooklyn and pick up where we left off last exploring out there and riding to the beach in the summer. i'm really into prospect park -- one of my favorite spots is the boathouse, built at the turn of the century. grabbing a kite and a sandwich and hanging out at the boathouse with our bikes and friends is a perfect day in my opinion. i would love to create some sort of installation in the meadowport arch, which is one of the beautiful aging archways in prospect park.