Let us start with some facts – roar, along with Roen and Mastermind Japan are still some of the biggest names in Japanese street style. They may not be representative of bleeding age structuralism and proportion play that we now think of when we consider the dynamism of the streets today, but they are brands that continue to sell and continue to be stocked at a truly dizzying number of select shops when so many streetwear brands are crying out for just one stockist. The second point is that they really haven’t changed their output throughout their popularity, season on season it is the same mix of Swarovski designs, a nice bit of studding and distressed denim, throw in a bit of seasonal florals, military, American casual and rock imagery for good measure and you are pretty much set (don’t forget the all important logo).
However where this gets a bit tricky is when you crack open the lookbook for the latest collection by roar and see such a familiar look that it really does make you think if it has now become something of a cult label. Back in the late 2000s, every other streetwear brand wanted to be roar or Roen and people used to want to display proudly that they had the real thing – hence why they reinforced the branding and kept the look so recognizable that it bordered on the iconic. Now that streetwear tastes have diversified and spiralled off towards less obvious displays of wealth and luxury lifestyle branding, roar and Roen are suddenly extremely distinct brands again, having stuck to their fashion guns (ahem).
So I suppose my question with this collection, and I would include the latest from Roen and Mastermind Japan in this too (collection here), is – has this look become so specialised that it is almost a cult or category of its own? Should we label this “Tokyo Luxe” or similar? It certainly has become a timelessly cool look representative of a certain part of street culture along with the boutiques like Kawano that cater to it. Personally, I do believe that it has managed to stay the right side of dated, and instead moved into a new style arena of its own. At the end of the day people still love it, spend serious cash on it and then want the world to know exactly what brand it is when they are wearing it.
Anyway, I leave it up to you to decide from the lookbook which this season is all ladies (roar tend to alternative by season):
Well there you have it, crossed pistols, love and peace, indisputable quality and classic cuts. In a word = roar.