You may have seen Hatra in our Akihabara Fashion Week coverage, but this is actually the first time we will be featuring them specifically on Tokyo Telephone. I shame, as I for one think it is one of the most concise and well executed brand concepts to come out Japanese fashion lately. The brand is deeply concerned with otaku culture, the hikikomori, the otaku room itself and how that in turn manifests itself in urban spaces and the individual. Hatra’s collections reflect that desire to be isolated through amorphous shapes, armor-esque panelling, and the high-necked hoods that the brand is probably most famous for. In essence the clothes create boundaries around the head of the wearer, and in this futuristic take on hooded sweatshirts reference both the extraverted of fashion, but also the desire not to venture outside and be seen of the hikikomori. I don’t think there is a better example than this of the struggle we are currently seeing in the otaku world, in their increased desire to represent their culture in physical spaces, and the inherent defensiveness that comes with it – but perhaps that is a discussion for another time.
For Hatra’s A/W 2012 collection, they have enlisted Mogami of Akihabara’s Denpa-gumi to model – a perfect match for the brand, and one who I am given to understand is something of a personal muse of the designer. The work itself boils down to well constructed hooded tops, and isolated hoods (or snood I suppose) made from quality jersey which are all priced pretty reasonably (if you can find them before they sell out that is).
The collection is deliberately unisex, and almost denies gender by hiding the wearer’s chest and shoulders under bulky shapes. This is something that the designer clearly plays off by always enveloping very slight models in his cocoon-like constructions for his lookbooks.
The images below are from his last collection, but it is a good chance to see the details and construction that you don’t really get in the above.
If you are looking to buy Hatra, then Mikiri Hassin in Harajuku is going to be your best bet, or alternatively Gokai in Akihabara also carry the archive collection. Either way, you are going to have to fight me for one as so far I have missed out on his hoods whenever they have gone on sale – this is a brand with a very strong cult following, and I am hoping you are now left in no doubt as to why.