Style has always referenced the past, even though it’s focused on the future. With spring heralding new looks and summer already approaching fast, new collaborations, brands and innovations are making their mark in stores now.
Louis Vuitton’s love letter to streetwear
Hot on the heels of the Louis Vuitton and Supreme collaboration, LV is proving that it is committed to street culture in all its forms by releasing a collaboration collection with legendary Japanese streetwear brand Fragment.
Menswear Creative Director Kim Jones is not shy about displaying an unabashed love for Japanese streetwear brands, and Fragment — run by the “godfather” of Harajuku urban street fashion, Hiroshi Fujiwara — makes the ideal partner. With a highlight of the collection being an old-school letterman jacket with a stylized “Louis V.” emblazoned on the back, the lineup is a love letter to nostalgic uniforms and athletic wear, with a highly aspirational twist, of course.
The collection is being sold in Tokyo until May 5 at a pop-up shop at The Mass & Ba-tsu Art Gallery in Harajuku. The space also features an installation by art-meets-tech wizard Daito Manabe of Rhizomatiks, whose immersive, multisensory work gives visitors not only an unusual shopping experience, but an opportunity to leisurely enjoy the lineup.
Mei-Ten’s eclectic pop-up outlet in Ikebukuro
There is no better place to find the most dynamic assortment of up-and-coming names alongside internationally recognized brands than the Mei-Ten pop-up shop at Ikebukuro Parco. Here, more than 30 young and wildly creative brands have designed their own space or installations, with most of the designers on-hand to meet shoppers.
Lead by Mikio Sakabe, who was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize last year, Mei-Ten hosts many merchants who attended the fringe fashion school Coconogacco that Sakabe also runs. Also on the roster is Sakabe’s wife’s brand, Jenny Fax, and the couple are widely credited with melding into high fashion some of Tokyo’s deepest subcultures, including idol otaku (Japanese idol fans) and “genderless” dressing for boys.
Like-minded designers Akikoaoki and Keisuke Yoshida, both of whom just showed in Tokyo fashion week with impressive and critically praised runway collections, have also joined Mei-Ten, while others include Perminute, a semi-finalist for the 2017 H&M Design Award, who is known for deconstructing Ugg boots and turning them into other items of clothing. For accessories, check out Chinamitokizawa whose intricately beaded and embroidered charms have sticky backs, designed to be worn directly on the skin.
There are also a handful of brand-spankin’ designers who are currently studying at Coconogacco, ready to show the world what they’ve got for the first time.
The Mei-Ten pop-up shop runs until April 26. For more information, visit bit.ly/mei-ten.
Old-school summer wear becomes contemporary style for all seasons
If you’re looking for something with a splash of tradition, now’s a good time to shop for a yukata (lightweight summer kimono). Otsuka Gofukuten, which translates to the Otsuka kimono merchant, is a very traditional name for what is an extremely modern take on old-school garb.
The Kansai-based brand has just released its new 2017 collection of yukata, which sport designs that mix modern geometric patterns with well-loved Japanese wagara motifs. Recently, yukata have been gaining traction with young people, mostly thanks to the availability of more variety at a wide range in prices.
Otsuka Gofukuten also heeds that call and has released all of its yukata in three price levels — from ¥50,000, around ¥30,000 and just over ¥10,000.
Most yukata are worn for summer matsuri (festivals) as one-offs, but Otsuka Gofukuten is suggesting that they can be worn as street-style clothing. Its lookbook shows local girls hanging out in urban centers, posing in Instagram-ready shots — far removed from the usual yukata catalogue. The brand also encourages customers to arrange their robes with heavier innerwear, tabi socks and accessories such as obi, promoting its yukata as year-round “kimono.”
The theme for 2017 is “modernstalgie,” featuring old-meets-new pattern of peonies, birds, pomegranates, stripes, dots and more in a variety of bold colors, and you can find them in Lumine Shinjuku 1.
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