Roar, Roen and Mastermind Japan form some kind of holy trinity of luxury Japanese street fashion – they all charge a premium price tag, all have very similar logos and have all taken the leap to exhibit in Paris and from there to the world. The designers themselves are all focused on a form of mutual benefit and regularly collaborate, rarely compete and can usually be found stocked in the same shops, indeed, Mastermind Japan was something of a guru to Roar and advised him on how best to market his brand. The point I am driving at here is that these brands are all very similar in business strategy and while Mastermind is by far the most expensive (10000000 yen jacket anyone?), Roen is the most influential and Roar is arguably the most iconic – they all occupy a similar place in Japanese fashion.
With that said, I thought I would give a bit of an introduction to this brand and see if I can’t demystify it for the uninitiated.
My first memories of the brand are probably from around 2005 when rhinestones and bling could not have been more in vogue and I had just started at university in Tokyo. At that point a Swarovski vest coming in at 40000 yen was well out of my means (and probably should always be), but there was an effortless glamour about the brand. I would slink off and buy a 2000 yen homage to the above, and would always respect those who I clocked wearing the real thing.
Needless to say this kind of rhinestone excess swept 109-2 and by 2010 tastes had shifted away – but Roar has always remained the same and I think that is the genius of the brand. They have always stuck to their guns(!) and managed to imbue the brand with a hint of iconography.
Continue reading for an avalanche of pictures and a look at their collaborations and motif(s).
Now the reason that little ol’ “s” is sitting in brackets is because when it comes to motifs in Roar there is but one – the crossed “Peace Maker” guns. This has gone on to represent the brand as Roen and Mastermind do with their skull and crossbones, and Roar’s represent a call to peace as well as looking damn cool.
Fashion wise they have stuck to a very casual look largely unaffected by trends, but they do manage a couple of nice little touches to those looks and they do do them as well as anyone ever has.
In this look I do like the understated patchwork arms alongside the guns (which you are going to see an awful lot more of…)
Again a nice take on a classic shape (and see if you can spot the guns on this one)
Again nice and self contained (the guns are on the back of these)
Classic American Casual – you can’t really go wrong here, the colour is perfect and the design proven.
A look at their jeans from the back – made in Japan and as high quality as you could ask for.
And straight into one of their best t-shirts I have seen them do. Admittedly 100000 yen is pretty hardcore, but there is an awful lot of work in this. My only problem is that most of the 109-2 lot have done a version for 5000-8000 – but you know with Roar that value for money is not something that comes into their brand identity!
At first glance I thought there was no guns in this one, but look closer….
Really like the shaped rhinestones on this one – really over the top and very cool.
And now we can head into the meat of the brand – namely that having established the iconic gun motif they can then collaborate with other brands with absolute ease. Here they help pimp out an awesome belt with some slightly native touches.
This is what happens when Roen and Roar collide – love it!
Dr Martins and Roar.
Nemesis and Roar.
299 and Roar.
Oh yes – 299 is a dog clothing brand! The breed of the dog really tells you who this is aimed at.
As I have been alluding to Roar is the quintessentially iconic brand. Their brand is their logo – the logo is the brand. That is no bad thing (not only is it a good logo) but what it alludes to is equally cool. It is instantly recognisable to those in the know and alongside the classic american casual makes for a brand that is pretty timeless.
It is an interesting concept and one that represents a large part of the industry of Japanese fashion. It may not be one that I necessarily buy into these days but it does work and most importantly makes for very cool clothes, who am I to complain?