Today’s topic is a difficult one for many involved in Japanese menswear, indeed, I ended up having a very heated discussion on this very issue only yesterday. It involves the handling of the on-going legacy of Takahiro Miyashita’s iconic brand Number (N)ine, which as most of you probably know the designer himself emphatically closed the door on effective in 2010 and began his new project The Soloist. However, Kooks (the company with rights to the name) have continued the brand without his input releasing classic items from 2001 through 2006 through the Japanese shopping portal ZOZOTOWN and now releasing entire collections for both the mainline Number (N)ine and the basics line – n(n). Given that this is a brand that was right at the hub of Japanese fashion elitism and the fashion collector phenomenon of the 2000s, this has naturally caused some friction with hardened fans of the brand who are happy to spend the rest of their days hunting down rare items in just the right size that sold out on launch a decade ago. As for me, I invite you to make up your own mind, maybe because this was never quite my style back in the day I don’t have the emotional investment many have, but I would be very interested to hear from those who do.
I thought we would take a look at the new collection for A/W 2012-13 that is hitting retail as I type, as well as the re-issued items for ZOZO.
Into the ZOZO exclusive items and it is very much business as usual. Grungy jeans, knowing t-shirts and the ubiquitous silhouette of early 2000s Japanese fashion.
I do still love those sunglasses though, and rarely a week goes by in Tokyo when I fail to spot a die-hard Number (N)ine fan sporting a pair.
Onto the new collection:
Clearly there is a little bit of a shift here, it is a little cleaner, a little blockier and altogether in line with the mood of the moment as summed up by men’s fashion magazines like Sense, Joker and Fudge. In another flashback to the 2000s they have also managed to secure a collaboration with the Rolling Stones for the usual t-shirt and jewelry line-up that always seems to resonate well in Japan.
Classic paint splattered jeans on the left contrast with a progressive layered arrangement on the right.
These jeans are a nice touch, with the knee detailing slightly recalling the shape of chaps on the thigh.
Popular Number (N)ine prints find themselves revisited.
And finally I thought we would focus in on some items that I can imagine becoming the biggest hits of the collection.
Well there you have it, Number (N)ine still alive and kicking – what do you think?