Monotone simplicity has become a real rarity in Japanese fashion unless tinged with club kid cool as ably demonstrated by brands such as DressedUndressed, but even then it doesn’t dare to verge on actual minimalism   Why you may ask?  Well, imagine growing up with your parents generation worshipping at the altar of Yohji Yamamoto’s crows and then you might get a sense of why the current generation have rebelliously turned their back on it.  If this kind of austerity in fashion is rare in menswear (see Shunsuke Hatakeyama for a fine example of a young designer taking up the mantle here), then it is almost unheard of in women’s lines these days.  Mercifully there are those such as QR by Ryoju Kishi, who we last looked at when he was a fresh graduate here, willing to get to grips with perfectionist patterning and create something that is a welcome relief on Tokyo’s saturated streets.

It will probably come as no surprise that the severity exemplified by Rick Owens isn’t as readily adopted amongst younger girls in Japan as could be hoped.  Instead brands like QR understand that there needs to be an element of organic softness to both the lines and materials to temper the look to current tastes.  You can see it in the stern but soft hem of the dress above, but also rather more literally in the fur and wool boots – that I must admit have grown on me since I last saw them.  Overall it is not a step too far outside the mori comfort zone, or anyone’s for that matter – and did I mention that it is entirely unisex?

I first came across the brand by virtue of last collection’s version of the wrapped shorts you see above at Wut Berlin in Omotesando.  The shape is fantastically genderless and looks great on the move – every wardrobe needs a pair of shorts like these as far as I am concerned.

As QR starts to expand the number of shapes in the line-up it is great to see some unexpectedly hard lines start to crop up like the contrasting panels above.

This coat with hidden button closure and sunken pockets is pretty much spot on and I can’t decide whether I like the sizing tight or over-sized as below.

To shop QR you will want to head on over to Wut Berlin in Omotesando and I believe they still have a tiny amount available online (well they did at the time of writing) and stay with me for more of Tokyo’s darker fashion over the coming weeks.

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