Menswear: Specialist Dry Clean Only
Meet the wave of Japanese designers making commitment coolRead more
Balancing simplicity and an appetite for experimentation, a new wave of Japanese designers is pushing traditional craft to its limits through extreme dedication to one look, genre or material. Meet the designers who are lifting singular, scholarly design to its luxurious peak.
Beams Plus’ reverential appropriation of ‘40s and ‘50s Americana epitomises the Japanese’s veneration of classic US sportswear. The brand’s lauding of mohair cardigans or jacquard polo-shirts in its collections marks these garments as prototypical; icons of Americana. Needles’ designer Keizo Shimizu fell for the preppiness of ‘80s Ivy League looks in high school when he flipped through a copy of Men’s Club magazine. Today Needles’ reconstructed vintage finds and archetypal tailoring pay homage to the pieces he first discovered there.
Hyper-normal minimalism taken to the extreme is Japan’s forte. Think Snow Peak’s camping gear-turned-streetwear. The mountaineering brand’s utilitarian detailing has become a sought-after statement, the more pragmatic the better. Japanese designer Yusuke Yatsuhashi launched premium denim label Kuro in 2010. The brand’s philosophy pushes this sturdy material to its limits; the passing of time marked through seasonal hedonistic flourishes and the evolution of this multi-faceted material. Blue Blue Japan has demonstrated indigo-dyeing know-how since its 1996 launch. Age-old Japanese techniques are the starting point for every Blue Blue Japan garment - authenticity is at the brand’s heart and its sought-after selvedge denim is woven on vintage shuttle looms.
Japan’s designers trigger obsessive tendencies, with fans’ uniforms mutating only according to the brands’ whims. Comme des Garçons PLAY’s iconic heart logo t-shirt - released on repeat since 2002 - is collected in every colour, size and shape. Founded In 1947, Edwin still sets the standard for denim manufacturing today. The company’s textbook selvedge denim makes its way into disciples’ wardrobes in every new wash.
If maximalism implies extremes, going against the norm and being uncompromising then this tunnel-vision approach to design is always maximalist. Issey Miyake's HOMME PLISSÉ has not differed from its pleated path since its iconoclastic 1993 launch. Fans flock for the same homogenous silhouettes and monochromatic impulses three decades on. Tokyo-based Auralee embodies intelligent constraint through its muted colour palette. The ability to mutate every luxurious cloth to a pinpoint hue on the colour-wheel demonstrates the label’s technical prowess.