Q-Pot dishes out more sweet stuff

Q-Pot, purveyors of ultra cute and occasionally disconcertingly realistic sweet-themed accessories, is marking its 15th anniversary with its very first fashion line: Q-Pot Dress. Tadaaki Wakamatsu, the designer of the jewelry line, is himself taking on the challenge by channeling his approach to accessories — which has seen him transform everything from wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) to British afternoon-tea motifs — into clothing.

In time for start of spring, the theme is strawberries and a play on the Japanese word for the fruit, “ichigo,” which phonetically sounds like the numbers one (ichi) and five (go) — a perfect match for the 15th anniversary.

While the result is as kawaii as you might expect — like the seed-covered cardigans that turn the wearers into a giant strawberries — some of the collection is unisex, so men get the chance to step into Q-Pot’s perennially surreal world. It’s also not just for the Harajuku crowd, with the brand’s international store taking orders and new stockists in Kuala Lumpur proving that Japanese cute crosses all borders.


Streetwear gets a Taro Okamoto makeover

Residents up and down Japan will be used to seeing flashes of Taro Okamoto’s bright artwork punctuating various public places, but thanks to streetwear giant New Era, you may well have recognized some of his work staring back at you from people’s baseball caps in the past few days.

This is the second in a series of goods produced in collaboration with Taro’s estate, and items went on sale nationwide on March 9. The lineup has expanded to include children’s models for parents wanting to give their offspring bold items embroidered with faces from the “Children’s Tree” that stands in front of Children’s Castle in Tokyo, as well as more subdued designs for adults in sync with current streetwear trends.

Elsewhere in the collection the artist’s preliminary sketches are deployed as prints, while original artwork is spliced with iconic works and superimposed over photographs of Tokyo — a fitting match for those who admire the “Myth of Tomorrow” mural in Shibuya Station’s busy Mark City concourse. The 15-piece lineup of headwear and backpacks is reasonably priced, starting at ¥5,724 for a cap, but as ever with limited editions, you’ll need to move fast if you’re interested in adding this art to your wardrobe.


Yohji Yamamoto veers into fantasy

Video game and fashion collaborations are quite de rigueur these days, and they seem to easily win over fans in Japan, even if elsewhere the prices can be off-putting.

Always at the head of the curve is the seminal designer Yohji Yamamoto, who was quick to bring tinges of pop culture to his runway, most memorably in 2014. His Ground Y sub-brand also promptly became a vehicle for pop cultural collaborations that have included tokusatsu (live-action sci-fi) favorite “Kamen Rider” and anime “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”

Next in line is the awkwardly named “Final Fantasy Brave Exvius,” which marks the 30th anniversary of the wildly popular “Final Fantasy” role-playing game series. Unusual for the “Final Fantasy” releases, this new game is a smartphone free-to-play app, which in the past would never have spawned merchandise, let along a fashionable line of Yohji Yamamoto coats that creep toward ¥135,000.

Series illustrator Yoshitaka Amano has lent his distinctive style to a complete collection that is airy and effortless, as you would expect from the Yohji stable, and it goes on sale at the Ground Y store in Ginza Six next month.

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