Style & Design | ON: FASHION

New, old and classic — Mintdesigns, vintage clothing and Mihara Yasuhiro

by Misha Janette

Minty fresh designs

Do you think that fashion is art, or that it’s simply a product? Why not both? Tokyo brand Mintdesigns’ new exhibition “Graphic and Textile Works” blurs the line between the two with its presentation of inspirational but practical designs that draw from 16 years of its archives.

From the get-go, designers Nao Yagi and Hokuto Katsui have made their brand’s concept clear: “We want our fashion to be considered product design.” As a result, it has become known for a range of unique graphics and patterns on wearable silhouettes. After dominating that market with its decidedly “quirky Tokyo” spin, the brand has now expanded into other realms of design, including Japanese food and art installations. “Mintdesigns: Graphic and Textile Works,” which follows last year’s wildly successful “Material Dictionary” exhibition in Fukuoka and Nagoya, is a minty treat for fans and the curious alike.

“Mintdesigns: Graphic and Textile Works”: Feb. 21-March 25; Creation Gallery G8, 8F, 8-4-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo.

Sometimes vintage is so much better

Women’s secondhand clothing is huge business in Japan, so finding the right store that speaks to your singular taste is like hitting a bull’s-eye. If you haven’t hit yours yet, then the newly opened Sometimes Store, a treasure chest of clothes and oddities from around the world, is a great place to try.

Founder and buyer Yuri Matsumoto is no stranger to this game; she honed her chops at Shibuya’s famous vintage streetwear store Nude Trump for nine years before giving herself just one month to put her own store together. The shop is cozy, but that’s because it’s packed with looks carefully curated from items from all eras and corners of the globe. Think embroidered cheongsams, French fascinators, kitsch American biker jackets and sequined clutches for every occasion.

“I want to travel the world finding the coolest things,” Matsumoto says, adding with a laugh, “and when I’m gone, my grandmother said she’d man the store for me.”

Sometimes Store: KR Bldg 102, 5-3-17 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. Instagram: @sometimes_store

Mihara Yasuhiro launches a fit new brand

Mihara Yasuhiro recently revealed a new menswear line called Fit Mihara Yasuhiro, a beacon in the saturated streetwear market. Aiming to bridge fine dressing and sportswear, the brand’s concept is to “keep in tune with the street,” while creating “refined menswear styles.”

Fabrics used are known for being easy-to-wear, including reaction-dyed denim and super-fine 100 percent cotton, but Mihara has left room for surprises, such as a Chesterfield coat made from the wool of a rare Tibetan yak.

Mihara has been quite busy creating new brand lines lately, debuting one last year called Nehanne Mihara Yasuhiro (stylized as MYne), which is inspired by youth cultures across countries and eras. The currently available spring-summer collection took on the Japanese youth through rock-punk styles with old-school samurai illustrations in graphical tones.