The first time I saw Roen back in the days when I was an impoverished student at Meiji University I must confess that I didn’t get it.  After all it would not be a brand out of place in 109-2 but at 5 times the price.  However now that I am slightly older and potentially wiser (but still impoverished mind) I can really see why Roen not only demands the price tag but also almost justifies it.

You see Roen burst onto the scene in the early 90’s with a real bang and carved out a niche as the king of luxury street wear amongst the clubs and streets of Kabukicho, Shinjuku.  It was only a matter of time before the imitators appeared and now the latest collections are easy targets for 109-2 imitators, the only problem with this is that Roen (occasionally) offers a quality of finish that cannot be aped.  Even now, Roen is the setter of the trends that make their way to the mainstream, part inspired by luxury LA brands, partly the Dior Homme catwalks, Roen polishes it all off with an amazing Japanese standard of finish.

Although I perhaps should say that, for example, a Roen tracksuit is never going to be a wise and justified fashion investment (nor is any) but their more expensive items give you quality worth every flimsy 1 yen.

Whereas the shops of 109-2 offer some amazing designs the quality of materials used can sometimes leave something to be deisred.  Case in point would have to be the difficulty in finding solid leather boots – they are nearly always made of faux-leather plastics.  The up-shot of this is that that fancy pair of Sabgreed boots is going to look great for the first month, but the Roen ones pictured above made of high quality leather are not going anywhere for as long as you want them.

One of my absolute favorite items of the last season was this amazing jacket:  Observe the fine embroidery, quality leather and epically on-trend asymmetry and ripping.

I guess at the end of the day it comes down to whether you would rather have the money to constantly update your wardrobe by shopping at cheaper shops or whether you want a fashion staple to keep for years.  For me as someone who lusts after the thought of being able to afford Roen without breaking a sweat, it is only a brand for stand-out pieces rather than luxury basics.  But if you can, I recommend you get all the Roen you can get your hands on.

Samuel

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