One of my many fashion obsessions is the pursuit of “timeless cool”, not pursuing a single definition, as say, both over-sizing and under-sizing can be timelessly cool in their own right, but more to isolate and deconstruct that element of cool wherever it does turn up. Certain ones are easy to identify – leather, distressing, rebellion, military and fetishism – are all open goals to grab people’s attention, but it takes quite a significant amount of skill to hammer that point home with a degree of credibility. KMRii is one brand that does and understands that it is not enough to slam as many studs as you can into a bit of leather, you need to really think about position, size, coatings and backing till you reach that logical conclusion where every little detail is crammed full of a elements that would all be judged to be objectively cool in their own right by any jury in the land.
I think you can tell that I am a fan of this one…
Continue reading for a look at this brand which turns out to be one of the reasons I got into Japanese fashion in the first place.
Now, I first became aware of the guys at KMRii back in the early 2000s when just about everyone in J-Rock was wearing their gear, their gear mostly being accessories back then. Gradually they started firing out bags, boots and the occasional items of clothes, but it was not until a lot later that one of the founders went on to found 14th Addiction that would specialise in clothes (and don’t worry I will write about him in the next couple of days). So there was a basic but hardly defined shift to form two brands – 14th Addiction for clothes and KMRii for accessories. Lui who heads up KMRii still works with 14th Addiction though and they actually share a studio in Bali. So a bit of an odd history (like most Japanese brands) compounded by the fact that Kmrii also makes clothes sometimes and collaborates with a ton of other brands. Phew, sorry if that is a bit confusing, I only write about it because I am a big fan of all the gear that they have produced over the years under the various different labels – which leads us to the KMRii accessories themselves:
Their base level is studded belts, particularly with those nice honeycomb studs. The colour scheme is invariably brown and brass on black, the details are artfully irregular, layered and impeccable but somehow distressed at the same time.
The vision is definitely heavily inspired by Mexico and Africa ethnically but with a heavy does of the post-apocalyptic.
They select the coolest in organics, not just using organics, but quite literally the best bits of organics they can find. I know that sounds a bit odd, but there is such a difference between using exotic materials for obscurity alone, and actually finding the most exotic example of a given obscurity, and the fact that KMRii cares is something I really admire.
These black and white shots are good for establishing the “atmosphere” of the brand, don’t worry some actual items are on their way.
Ok, now I think you are getting a feel for their work, on with their recent creations:
Now as cool as all this black and white artwork is, you do need a bit of colour to really get a measure of just how well observed it is:
Needless to say this aesthetic has become popular thanks to 109-2 favorites like Goa, Civarise and Fuga. But you really have to go to KMRii for that really obscene level of finish where each and every chain is selected, each stud and rivet makes a statement and reeks of character.
Personally this fits in with the Mad Max look that I am such a fan of – the spirit of self-customisation, love of nature and desire to make a statement with every little detail of my outfit. I also find that in comparison to designer leather items these actually compare very favorably on price, certainly when you consider the amount of spade work that has gone into it.
As for actually buying this then icons of cool like Circus, LGB and Royal Flash are the places to go in Tokyo but you can see more stockists on their official page. Alternatively you could always buy some leather gear from Ueno, wear it everyday for about 10 years and repair and re-condition it yourself. Then, just maybe you will realise how much work has gone into creating this timeless cool that KMRii does without breaking a sweat.