Traditionally, the Japanese are very ‘safe’ with their money, says Okuda, and, on his arrival in London to begin his studies on Central Saint Martins’ BA in Jewellery Design, he was shocked by the lavish approach to spending money in the UK. This culture around money struck him as rather shallow, but also intriguing. A similar phenomenon to the one that affected Japanese currency 20 years ago appeared here again: there was a disregarding of value. While the pound still possessed monetary value, it was being thrown around as if it didn’t. It was not until later on in New York, during his time on Parsons’ MFA Fashion Design and Society programme, that these observations would appear in his designs. In London, the designer spent weekdays in school studying craft and design, and his weekends in a jewellery workshop learning traditional British crafting techniques. He describes this time as useful but notes that he constantly felt detached from society. He considers jewellery as an object to be solitary and distant from its wearer, and as a jeweller, he began to feel frustratingly detached from his customers and the worlds they inhabit. Jewellery, he concludes, is “like art”: rather than directly engage with a wearer, it simply exists. Kota, however, wanted to seek out a way to create work that was closer to his audience, culture and society.