You absolutely cannot go wrong with a good leather jacket: you can pair the right one with pretty much anything and let the jacket do all the talking, add in some quality boots and suddenly you can hold your head up high in classy venues as well as drink in the grimiest bar in Kabuki-cho and not draw any negative attention.  I know it is a bit of a menswear cliche, but like its formal counterpart – the suit – it works for a reason.  Obviously when you pursue this version of menswear, as I might add the majority of fashionable Tokyo men seem to (with the addition of some Chrome Hearts to finish the look), you eventually seek out the best possible leathers, finest possible details and indulge in some slight tweaks to classic designs to raise the level from the beat up classic riders you started out with at 16.  When it comes to the best of the best there are a couple of brands that stand out in the Japanese marketplace, notably Yasuyuki Ishii for innovation, Backlash for quality of leather and Julius for fashion flair, but balancing all those three worlds nicely is Incarnation by Keita Ogawa.

It probably won’t surprise to know find out that this designer has worked for both Chrome Hearts and the undisputed king of Japanese leather Isamu Katayama in the past and through that it is pretty easy to see where the biker elements in his work have come from, but there is also something deeply progressive about his work that has probably come from working in close collaboration with arguably the highest quality leather tannery in the world – Guidi.

This has culminated in designs that are resolutely classic, but taking in the treatments and construction of the moment which does mean there are similarities to other artisanal leather brands, but by and large through sheer quality I don’t see why this guy shouldn’t be on a pedestal as one of the greatest leather designs working today.  Certainly in Japan where you can buy his work at Royal Flash and LHP (seeing Incarnation jackets next to Roen is a bit odd) the price is very competitive for the quality and along with Backlash is probably the cheapest way to buy Guidi quality leather in Japan.

The leather jackets are obviously the core of the collection, but there are also some great heritage biker jeans, and a couple of boot and glove designs to get excited about as well.

I am not usually a fan of shearling (I overheat easily), but this looks absolutely gorgeous.

I love jackets like this where the sheer quality of the leather is the focus of the outfit.

Most of the designs are also available in women’s sizes as well:

And some individual item shots for you to lust over:

I don’t think I have ever wanted a boot more.

Since the advent of touchscreens all my gloves have spend a winter without any wear at all – the only glove worth wearing is a fingerless one as far as I am concerned.

For more pictures and international stockists you will want to go here and I hope you are as taken with Keita Ogawa’s work as I am.

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4 Responses to Incarnation by Keita Ogawa A/W 2012-13 Collection

  1. brad-t says:

    the high collar jacket with hook clasps is to die for.

  2. Samuel says:

    @ brad-t

    I love it all, and since writing this have tried on a couple of pieces in LHP Harajuku. Trust me it is amazing in person – the linings in some of the pieces can be un-zipped and removed, and it almost goes without saying that the leather quality is out of this world.

    For me it is a nice compromise between artisanal pieces that you can buy in Lift and younger biker/street level pieces that I have a preference for.

  3. brad-t says:

    So do most of their jackets have lining?

  4. Samuel says:

    @ brad-t

    Well all I have seen is what samples LHP in Harajuku had so it probably isn’t much to base anything on, but of them it was 50/50.

    I will have to hunt down a showroom next fashion week, even though the designer is based abroad now, I reckon they will have one.

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