Game, set and match Fred Perry and Mintdesigns

What do you get when you take a prestigious British brand like Fred Perry and pair it up with the funky Tokyo-based Mintdesigns? A radical take on classic design, of course.

This is the first time Fred Perry has collaborated with a Japanese brand, and Tokyo fashion week veterans Mintdesigns has got its attention. It seems an odd couple for sure — Fred Perry, known for its take on casual tennis-club wear, has more than 60 years of history under its belt, while pop-centric Mintdesigns is a child of this millennium. But considering the former has already made bedfellows with unusual partners such as Pac-Man, it’s not as shy of corralling in fun brands as you may think.

This mini collection harks back to the 1960s, with a take on mod styling in a chic black-and-white palette. It shows off Mintdesigns’ graphical sensibilities with honeycomb and diamond motifs mixed with stripes and thrown together for a Tokyo sporty style. There are 11 pieces, ranging from polo shirts and dresses to socks, and you can find them now at Fred Perry stores in Harajuku and Osaka, with more rolling out in other areas across Japan in July.

Fred Perry: 2F Ingresso Bldg, 4-31-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-5770-6920; www.fredperry.jp

Dive into Shinjuku’s extra pool

Concept store The Pool opened up in Aoyama last year to great fanfare, and now it’s dipping its toes into the world of pop-ups with a limited shop in Isetan Department store.

The Pool’s creative director is Hiroshi Fujiwara, also known as the “Godfather of Harajuku,” and he’s been at the forefront of innovative shopping experiences for several decades. For The Pool, his pet project, he turned an abandoned swimming pool in an Aoyama apartment complex into a storefront, bringing in all of his coolest and closest friends to offer up exclusive collaborations and limited-edition products. Most of the items have a loosely swimming pool-related theme, from water-resistant rubber bags to “Pool”-printed toilet paper.

For the Isetan store, he’s introducing a portable record player for those halcyon days of summer and a rubber-accented Lacoste polo shirt. The Isetan pool party starts on June 17, but if you want to dive in now, the Aoyama store is currently stocking limited-edition goods by popular Japanese brands N. Hoolywood and Hyke.

The Pool popup opens June 17-23 at Isetan Dept. Store, 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; 03-3352-111; the-pool-aoyama.com

Uniqlo yukata collection goes retro

Summer is upon us and Uniqlo has hit the ground running with a yukata (summer kimono) collection. Yukata are a mainstay at summer festivals in Japan and the Uniqlo styles are being snapped up quickly, partly because they are easier to wear than traditional styles thanks to their sizing and easy-to-tie obi belts. While they’re quintessentially Japanese, this summer the yukata range is being sold in at least 14 countries across the globe.

The amazing prices of just ¥5,990 for women and ¥4,990 for kids is also a good tactic for getting people to try them on, since traditional styles can cost up to intimidating tens of thousands of yen.

This year, the prints take on a retro vibe, with half drawing inspiration from the bijin-ga (beautiful women) woodblock prints by the popular Taisho Era (1912-1926) artist Yumeji Takehisa and the rest from works of Showa Era (1926-1989) illustrator Junichi Nakahara. Patterns have a Japanese air, with the roses, polkadots, dahlias and plums particularly standing out. The girls’ designs are a cute fare of fluttering fans and flowers.

Check your local Uniqlo and online for availability. www.uniqlo.jp

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