This New Year we have our collective eye firmly on new talent, and it doesn’t get fresher than Meewee Dinkee, a fashion brand that melds 3 very different forces in a way that nails the direction Tokyo fashion is currently taking. The minds behind the clothing line might well be familiar to you encompassing ace producer TORICO, the beyond cool illustrator Aruta Soup, and Maywa Denki, an experimental gang best described as “mad scientists” from whom you have probably twigged the brand name itself is derived. The concept of mixing culture with the clothes at root is pretty much the biggest defining trait of this generation of Japanese fashion, and what can I say, it makes for not also exciting clothes, but even more exciting events and culture. For example, at the launch of the brand late last year we had the clothes worn by models, while illustrator Aruta Soup worked on a murial live, all the while accompanied by the head of Maywa Denki on his own self-built musical instruments. It is clothing that creates its own context, however niche that may well be, and it is a crucial reversal of the subculture years of Japanese fashion where it was the culture that created the accompanying fashion.
We caught up with illustrator and friend of the site Aruta Soup at his recent exhibition of work he created for the young brand, and took the opportunity to play some of Maywa Denki’s rather creepy instruments while I was at it:
As you have probably guessed it is Maywa Denki is on the left, Aruta Soup is on the right.
When I first heard about this project I thought that Aruta’s illustrations would be to confrontational for Maywa Denki’s 80s bubble era enthusiasm and positivity, but actually seeing them together, Aruta’s trippy drug references and London kink culture do go surprisingly well with Maywa’s creepy leering faces and convoluted pseudo-mechanical shapes.
This musical note operates by squeezing the trigger at the bottom that in turn crushes the face of the note into opening its mouth to sing.
While this one is blown into like a trumpet and the note controlled by the trigger.
This beauty is more conventional in operation, but the sound unlike anything you have heard before!
And this one laughs maniacally as you spin the wheel…
But this is my favorite, these hands clap on the glass of the windows to a programmed rhythm, I honestly thought they were going to smash the glass, and their swift sharp movements really were something to behold.
Moving on to Aruta’s work and we find his troubling cute characters in full flow.
I particularly liked his use of old UK “lewd” magazines in his collages, they seem quite tame through nostalgia’s lens.
I thought these illustrations on 80s magazines were particularly amusing.
Here you can see the characters Aruta Soup created for MeeWee Dinkee in patch form, and expect to see those turn up in various forms via Harajuku street snaps as we get further into the new year!
The man himself, and stand by for the actual clothes from Meewee Dinkee very soon indeed, but for now it is the context that matters.
Expect to see a lot more from Aruta Soup over the next year, especially as he has been chosen to produce the key visuals for the rooms 28 fashion trade show held next month – definitely one to watch.