JHB/GI is the collaboration brand of experimental pattern genius Georgie Ichikawa and the fantastic illustrator James Hamilton Butler who together have made an examination of Japanese popular culture through fashion a reality. In their own personal work it has clearly been their joint must, whether it is Georgie’s structural patterns or James’ series on deconstructing the magical girl paradigm long before Madoka came on our screens, but together through their brand the concept has really come together and it has worn them not only critical acclaim but placements in shops including our beloved Fake Tokyo in Shibuya and even Harrods in London.
I first discovered their work in their A/W 2012-13 collection that is themed in its entirety on pachinko machines both old and new (but more of that later), but I thought we would begin our look at the brand with their current S/S 2012 – Otaku Gyaru, that looks at Japanese pop culture from a Western perspective in a saturation of prints and ideas that captures the distorted view of Japan that the West has, but it is ultimately a demonstration of admiration rather than ridicule and one that the briefest of chats with the designers would reveal is absolutely genuine. Through the embrace of this outsider perspective they are able to find patterns, shapes and ideas that others would not find and it leaves the collection feeling familiar but somehow new.
Strong sportswear elements are in accordance with ideas we see in underground Tokyo fashion, but their prints are simply out of this world:
Their women’s silhouette and panelling is also in tune with ideas we are seeing in the likes of Balmung and Chloma’s work and it is gratifying to see so many designers capturing this same distinctive aesthetic in entirely different ways.
These fantastic shoes are produced by the The Old Curiosity shop’s Daita Kimura who has also worked with Hiro recently.
Fantastic stuff, and seeing as this is current season they do have an online shop here where you can buy it right now.
Moving on to their incoming A/W 2012-13, their muse this time is pachinko which is largely captured through elaborate pins and ball designs but also the flashes of lights in the stripes. Additionally if you look at the print of the right you can easily spot inspirations from Shimekazari (new year wreaths).
Love the pachinko ball buttons that are used throughout.
My very gracious guides to their work – love James’ jumper on the left.
Their wonderful S/S 2013 will have to wait till another time, but I can assure you that it continues the theme using another element of pop culture that is very appropriate for the summer season… But if you want to see more right now then you will want to head here to their official site.