The term ‘anti-model’ crops up frequently in today’s fashion industry. In a society always seeking something new, something interesting, something above average – is it any wonder this applies to fashion? These days it is simply not enough to just be a pretty face.
Enter Manami Kinoshita. Championed by stylist Lotta Volkova for her unconventional model looks, this slight Japanese-born beauty, who even at a mere 5’6, commands your attention.
Manami, tell us a little bit about your background: how old are you, where are you from, and how did you wind up in the fashion industry?
I am 23 years old and I am from Japan. One day I told my teacher that I didn’t want to go to school; I didn’t want to sit by the side of others and study every day, so I dropped out of high school. Then I started to work in cafes, convenience stores, pubs, clothing stores, call centres, and various places to save up some money. I did like fashion but modelling was not something I had ever thought of, when I started it was my first step to the fashion industry.
You have burst onto the fashion scene, but rapid success often doesn’t happen overnight. How long have you been signed?
There was not much of a demand for a model like me in Japan so I have been freelance for about three years. When I started I only modelled about once a month.
I heard someone call you a wild child, do you agree? Are you a rascal?
I’ve always done what I truly wanted to do and this has not changed. I never gave up even if somebody was against me. And I think this is how it should be, so I will not call myself a trouble-maker, but maybe a wild child!
You have your own distinct personal style, do you think being in the industry has shaped this at all, or have you always just expressed yourself this way?
My style comes from everything I have been through: my experiences, my family environment and how I grew up. Fashion also does inspire me of course, it’s fashion. I just think that the clothing means more when you understand the person wearing it.
In my eyes, Japanese people are often some of the most stylish around, do you think your cultural background has had an influence on your style?
Yes. For me style does not come from something you see on social media, it’s more than that.
Being Japanese, I feel the eroticism of Japan… such as a woman sitting on a tatami floor, mysterious temples, or the smell of Japanese incense, and all these things influence me.
Do you have any great passions? What subject is often on your mind?
I do think about world peace a lot and it’s a topic that I don’t believe I’ll ever finish thinking about.
When you are not at home in Japan, where do you like to be?
Anywhere is fine for me as long as I have somebody I can feel comfortable with.
Finally Manami, if you could be anything you wanted to be, what would it be?
The first creature born in space.
Photography © Henry Gorse