Retired teacher “Silver” Tetsuya, 84, wears an untucked check shirt under a combat jacket that hangs loosely off his shoulders, looking every inch the model.
His orange trousers are baggy, trainers are of the latest fashion and his yellow lens glasses are cool.
Matching the outfit with a brand-name baseball cap and a casual, almost ironic smile – he has every reason to do so.
He lives in one of the most rural areas of northern Japan and has never walked the catwalk ramp.
In the age of Instagram, anyone can model as proven by Silver Tetsuya.
“I used to be the principal of a high school but I retired 20 years ago and started doing some farming,” he said.
“I’m still in good health and I travel back and forth between Akita prefecture and Tokyo by myself, so I would say that I’m enjoying life without being too conscious about getting old.”
Naoya Kudo, Tetsuya’s 29-year-old grandson who works in advertising is the one that convinced his grandfather to be bold in dressing up.
“I’m not sure where my own interest in fashion comes from.”
“Perhaps it is because I am originally from the countryside that I thought it would be cool to do something that is very different from other people here,”
The first time he got his octogenarian granddad into the latest fashion everyone around them was in stitches.
“So far, we have done 20 fashion shoots with different looks and there are lots of outfits that I have not posted on social media yet, so we’re going to be adding more to his site soon,” Naoya said.
“Ultimately I would like to hold a photo exhibition or create a photo fashion book and be able to give it to my grandfather.”
Both of them had no idea how famous Silver Tetsuya would become.
He initially showcased his grandfather on Twitter, but provoked such a response that he set up a dedicated Instagram account for his grandfather.
The Instagram account has nearly 100,000 followers and a recent series of images gained him 10,000 followers in a single day – and Tetsuya affectionately refers to them as “students.”
Whether it’s Naoya’s photos, Silver Tetsuya’s insouciance in front of the camera or the clothes – or a combination of all three – his “look” has caught the imagination.
A long, black jacket cinched at the waist with Dolce & Gabbana belt and worn with purple tracksuit bottoms and a black aviator’s-style hat.
A baggy black T-shirt emblazoned with a skull motif matched with orange shorts, a leather bag at his waist and a baseball cap.
Tight black-and-white striped trousers paired with a tiger short and a Russian-style hat with fur ear-warmers pulled down.
In another shot he is giving a piece of farm machinery some encouragement with a perfectly shined pair of black leather boots.
There is nothing, apparently, that Silver Tetsuya will not try in the name of fashion.
“I would not say that I have any particular favourites when it comes to brands, but recently I have been wearing Alyx, Loewe and Kudos,” said Tetsuya.
Chizuko, his 84-year-old wife has encouraged him to explore his inner fashionista.
Naoya said she was initially surprised when they went on a shoot together but now she just finds it all very amusing.
“I think it’s great when someone who is in their 80s is not afraid to try something that is very different and very new,” he said.
“By watching my grandfather, I have also learned some very important lessons. And I hope that other people who see my grandfather and what he has done are inspired to try something they might never have thought of doing before. -/TISG
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