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Coco Tsuji Interview

Coco Tsuji is a Japanese eyewear designer. In 2008, she established her brand LOTHO where she and her team create glasses with an emphasis on reinvigorating classic shapes with a modern edge.

Who are you?

I’m Coco Tsuji.

What do you do?

I design eyewear.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in many different cities in Japan, such as Osaka, Tokyo, and Nagoya. Moving around every three years played a big part in building my lifestyle.

I always think of the next city to live. In every city I stay in, even for a couple of hours, I always imagine myself living there.

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When did you take your first big risk in life?

The moment I left my country alone. 

I had a backpack trip to New York City when I was 18 for the first summer vacation at university. 

The moment I arrived in the city, I just felt, this is my city and I have to move out from Japan. Once back in Japan, I spent half a year just researching and preparing for my move to NYC.

My parents were opposed to me studying in New York and at that time I always had a book with me “lede no susume” by Shuji Terayama, “Throw Away Your Books, Run into the Streets!” 

Terayama encouraged all the youth to leave home, and this book was the biggest help for me to realize my will.

I don’t know if you can call this a “risk,” but that is the biggest white canvas I’ve ever had in my life. No family, no friends, and no language. Obviously it was also the most exciting moment.

Why have you persisted with the path you’re currently on?

I haven’t yet reached what I have set out to accomplish. I have been designing eyewear for nine years, and I still feel like I just started yesterday.

One frame doesn’t have to be for everyone, but I want to make a pair of glasses that fit perfectly, and that you never want to change. A frame that becomes you. To make this come true, I need to design more, and so, I will keep on designing.

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Who is someone you’d love to work with?

Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s one of my dreams to design glasses for his films. He is a great artist with a very special presence.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a new collection. That’s the most exciting and fun part. For this collection I have an obsession with geometric designs.  

Eyewear is very physical in nature as it interacts greatly with your face, so it cannot be considered good without being comfortable. Working with geometric shapes and making them into wearable design is a great challenge I have set for myself right now.

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What do you think is your biggest success so far?

I think having a great team and working with some of the best manufacturers in the world is what I am the proudest of.

What I consider to be my biggest success is seeing people that love my frames on their face and end up incorporating it into their identity and style.

Written by Carolyn Buszynski

Carolyn is a McGill University graduate currently living and working in Toronto.