Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo: Menswear designers take it back to the streets

by

Contributing Writer

The menswear collections on display at Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo in mid-October appeared to be marching in step with a global push toward irony-drenched streetwear.

Fortuna Tokyo
Fortuna Tokyo | COURTESY OF FORTUNA TOKYO

Although the sportswear overtones have died down to a level that wasn’t suffocating in the recent New York, London, Milan and Paris collections, a number of shows in Tokyo appeared to be hitting the same notes.

As far as streetwear aficionados go, perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing. Given Tokyo’s formative role in defining the term in the ’90s, it represents something of a homecoming, and a number of brands are fighting to lay claim to the streetwear throne now that the old guard has fallen from favor.

The Soloist
The Soloist | COURTESY OF AMAZON FASHION

The spring/summer collection presented by Discovered earlier this month appeared to draw inspiration from the end of the ura-Hara streetwear boom of the 1990s.

Tatsuya Kimura and Sanae Yoshida, who bring nearly two decades of experience to the runway, unveiled a lineup that was essentially a love letter to the street culture of the ’90s that won the duo their initial fame almost two decades ago.

Revisiting the shoegaze/nu-gaze music scenes of the 1990s and 2000s, Discovered truly looked to be in its element, presenting numerous accessible yet novel garments that should tempt consumers away from vintage boutiques.

The label even had time to deliver a response to fashion maestros Vetements’ hyped DHL T-shirt. Discovered’s version was billed as an official collaboration, but it was still edgy enough to become one of the most talked-about looks from the week.

NerdUnit
NerdUnit | COURTESY OF AMAZON FASHION

Speaking of hype, Takahiro Miyashita, who rose to fame in the late ’90s with his label Number (N)ine, brought his solo project The Soloist back to the runways for the first time since 2009. The howling winds and unseasonal chill that accompanied the show couldn’t put off menswear acolytes from lining up for a glimpse, and even those stuck outside the venue seemed happy enough to be close to the increasingly enigmatic designer.

The Americana-obsessed Miyashita had already presented his latest collection in Paris earlier this year in the wistfully romantic manner his fans have become accustomed to, and so the Tokyo show allowed him to play to current streetwear tastes — patches, logos, graffiti and transparent plastic tech-wear — bringing the collection in line with a new generation.

Hare
Hare | COURTESY OF AMAZON FASHION

Miyashita’s fans may have been worried by the first couple of garments he presented on the runway, but by the time raw-edged Western shirts and dense rock ‘n’ roll-inspired embroidery made appearances toward the end of the show, the sense of relief in the room was palpable.

Elsewhere, the young guns of the anonymously produced BlackEyePatch marked themselves out as a Japan-tinged streetwear label with global potential, while U.S.-based NerdUnit from Ronald Chew appeared to zero in on Tokyo as the next destination for his label, marking the country’s capital as the battleground to watch for the next generation of rising streetwear talents.

Fortuna Tokyo
Fortuna Tokyo | COURTESY OF FORTUNA TOKYO

That said, the streetwear scene doesn’t represent menswear in Tokyo as a whole either on the streets or in the marketplace, and with more than 30 dedicated stores nationally, Hare gave us a clearer glimpse on what young men might actually be wearing beyond the capital.

Beyond the millennial market, Fortuna Tokyo‘s kōgei craft-infused collection was a surprise hit of the week, featuring leather-jacketed samurai and chic conservative menswear coupled with geta sandals that target the department-store shopping crowd the week usually neglects.