Tokyo Fashion Week may start today but it would be a mistake to think that the world of Japanese fashion is set to pivot on the direction that may come out of it, after all when I asked today’s subject what he was doing for fashion week he said that he wouldn’t even be in the city for the duration. There is a clear divide between the seasonal approach favored by those with a traditional fashion education and those who have come up from the underground who are in a constant state of production. Obviously this is a trend that exists the world over but it is exaggerated ten fold in Japan by the fact that it is the latter group who arguably exert a firmer grip on both the culture of fashion and the movements on the street. When you have the head designer of Dior accessories popping into Hayatochiri in the Kitakore building in downtown Koenji over Fashion Week itself, you do have to wonder why it is taking so long for fixed point event like fashion week to truly begin to harness the driving force of the Tokyo underground.
Coincidentally I discovered this young brand at the aforementioned Kitakore building in ilil, but quickly found out that this guy’s stockists read like an A-Z of the leaders of the underground including Teknopolice Psychedelia in Osaka, Vonaive in Kyoto and even the mighty Sick (Boy London) on our home turf in London. The designer’s name is Masaho Anotani, which he uses as a brand name because he sees his clothes as costumes and a further extension of his photography and art rather than fashion per se.
His vibe is like the designer himself, very young, but pleasantly dark – a heady trip of subcultural imagery with exaggerated masculine shoulders that Thom Browne would be proud of.
This is his latest series that I saw recently on the racks at ilil, but in the past he has pushed his distinctly dark art style on more conventional wear.
The staff at Boy London in the basement of Sick wearing his gear.
Outside of his fashion he is also a very talented artist and no doubt when he focuses on his patterns and shapes more he is well on the way to push his artistic ideas beyond the comfort zone of prints.
For more on this enviably young designer you can visit his site here and stay tuned for more from the Tokyo underground as we try and break up our coverage of Tokyo Fashion Week over the next couple of weeks.