I am absolutely not joking when I count amongst my fashion influences Araki Hirohiko’s stunning Jojo no Kimyouna Bouken. Key to it’s success are the very unique character designs and key to them are their instantly recognisable outfits. For those unfamiliar with the manga (not the slightly-off anime) this is a seriously iconic series that has been running since the 80s with a very strong visual style as well as some brilliantly quotable dialogue that I would advise anyone to read, especially those who have been put off by the cliche of the genre. This is very much a credible work of art albeit a slightly odd one.
Fashion-wise the clothes that occupy Jojo part 5 and beyond would definitely not look out of place in La Foret and I would pick out certain outfits as befitting of a couture collection. The artist himself has gone on record as being in tune with the trends of the cat-walk and has even go so far as to name his characters after his favorite designers – Hermes, Emporio and even Anna Sui play a key role in part 6 of the series.
Regrettably, despite these fashion influences the clothes themselves if reproduced verbatim as cosplay would be unwearable and occasionally ridiculous even in the world of Harajuku street style, but I am all for taking elements and inspiration from the designs as they do lend themselves nicely to my personal style.
Thus I was delighted when the very cool Ultra Violence struck a deal to produced their own line of official Jojo clothes to add to their Clockwork Orange inspired collections. At first I was a tiny bit disappointed that the tailoring of the clothes was vastly disparate from the original manga, but what the range does do is incorporate designs into clothes that are credible and wearable by people who are significantly more conservative than I may be:
Ultra Violence has done a great job of transcending the usual geek-chic fare of collaborations and instead draws mostly on patterns and symbols from the series to create designs that are not obviously taken from the subject. Even the printed T-Shirts with direct images from the manga have the images placed in subtle places or else re-coloured so as you would not immediately recognise them. Ultra Violence have added a couple of nice tailoring decisions as well such as the layered patterned leggings in the Aerosmith shorts above and the unzippable arms of the hooded top.
For me the stand-out items are the ones that are carbon-copies of those worn in the manga – which leaves me with the accessories above. The skull-patterned “Killer Queen” tie above could be worn with a suit quite easily and I currently have my Giovanna broach blending in nicely with a Jackrose jacket. Like with my Final Fantasy jewelery it is nice to get compliments on stuff independently of its somewhat nerdy origin and it is gratifying to know that if worn well and with a degree of subtlety it can easily be integrated into a fashionable outfit.
Check out the whole collection from Ultra Violence here and if you are in the mood for a manga this is one that comes hugely recommended.