Kodo Nishimura


THE GEAR • June 2022

How I pack as... a makeup maestro monk

Of all of Kodo Nishimura’s passions, two lead the way: make-up and monasticism. The Tokyo-born Buddhist became a make-up artist following a stint in the US and has since advocated for LGBTQ+ rights around the world, even appearing on Queer Eye. To celebrate Pride in all its glory, we asked what he throws into his suitcase when he’s out dispensing ancient wisdoms and painting faces

The jotter

Whenever I go on a trip, new inspirations come up. But a constant stream of thoughts can be overwhelming – they are like ghosts and can haunt us. A notebook with lined pages can act as a cage for these phantoms. By jotting them down, I make the thoughts visible and can then organise them.


The shoes

I like to feel amplified by the power of heels, but they must be comfortable to walk around in. Tabi boots from Maison Margiela are my favourite. The design is Japanese-inspired and they are comfy enough to pound city streets for a whole day.


The make-up

Make-up is not a necessity, but it can make me feel polished and give me confidence. I like to take items that are light, easy and instantly make me look sophisticated: an eyebrow pencil, some concealer and rose-coloured lip gloss. Plus, these mini items don’t make my travel pouch explode.

make up

The accessory

I created a special rainbow sticker to promote LGBTQ+ rights, in collaboration with the Japan Buddhist Federation. Buddhism supports people of all backgrounds, regardless of any differences. It’s nice to have a little gift for people I meet on the road, a positive reminder that we are all equally valuable.


The bag

Feeling safe is essential when exploring the world. Unfortunately, I’ve had my wallet stolen before. So, to stop that bad experience from happening again, I found a backpack that cannot be opened from behind. It’s the anti-theft backpack by Oscaurt. The zipper is hidden inside, so I have to physically remove the backpack to open it.


The coat

I don’t like to bring lots of clothes because they get heavy, so I travel with items that can be styled in multiple ways. One of my favourites is a jacket made out of an old monk robe. I like how it is both ancient and trendy.


Kodo Nishimura’s debut book, This Monk Wears Heels, is out now. 

This article has been tagged Fashion + Style, Travel Tips