We are going to be doing our coverage of the Rooms 25 trade show a bit differently this year, starting with our personal favorite discoveries from the show before going on to general trends in part 2. This is mainly because Rooms this season was on an altogether much grander scale than last season and positively packed with brands, and out of the 1000s we saw on the day there are a handful that we don’t want to get lost in general trend coverage and want to present first as our absolute best of the best selection.
As you can see here the stunning Yoyogi National Gymnasium was positively brimming with showrooms and exhibitions, and what you can’t see is that it continues all the way under the seats as well. Talking to fellow writer Misha Janette on arrival she noted that it had taken her 3 hours to do one sweep of the area without actually stopping to see anything along the way – it is genuinely that cavernous.
With that said, as you you might expect when presented with 1000s of stalls one gravitates to your own personal aesthetic, so these are the few that sung out to me from the show as a whole.
First up is new brand Gara by Takeshi and Mayu Nigara who just so happen to be a lovely tattooed couple and involved with the same circle as Blackmeans, BerBerJin and the underground art scene in Tokyo. Their work has already been trialled in BerBerJin, Harajuku and proved a huge success. I bet that you will be seeing their handmade accessories in an awful lot of street snaps later this year, and they have so many items that have the potential to be as big as the cult Blackmeans ones that I happen to wear daily.
They have also collaborated with friend of the site – Kazumichi Maruoka, the brilliant skull ceramicist.
This is the one item to watch out for, indeed, I have already seen a couple of these waist wraps on some of Harajuku and Koenji’s finest already.
Next we have Phenomena, another design and creative couple. Their conceptual jewelry absolutely blew me away thanks to their ability to coax a rainbow of patina out of silver in a way I thought impossible!
I particularly liked their geometric rings in silver, not necessarily my style, but I hope to see these worn soon.
We will be going into this brand properly at a later date, but you might recognise these broaches from Grimoire. They specialise in botanical curiosity fashion, including lab coats, protective wear and lots of beautiful specimens. Certainly somewhat eccentric and I promise you are going to love the full brand when we do our full report.
This is from Garbagine, a new brand that recycles printed t-shirts into significantly fashion forward items, I predict great things from these guys, especially considering the buyers I saw at the booth.
Now this is one of my favorite designers/artists working in Tokyo today – Shinji Nakaba who once again works alongside his wife as his design partner (noticing a theme develop?). He takes a variety of precious and non-precious items and turns them into wearable art of unrivaled quality. In this time he has turned 100 yen nuts and bolts into fabulous jewelry by carving the stainless steel by hand and then cheekily presents the receipt from the hardware store to the customer along with the item. There is a sense of humour to it obviously, but it just goes to show that design and talent can be turned to any material – and what better example than the cameo broach made from plastic pipe above.
Here is some more traditional work in shell that the designer personally found himself.
Simply beautiful, and trust me, once you have gone past one hundred stands at Rooms selling somewhat beige fashion, to see something of gravitas is very welcome indeed.
The final brand in this first part of our report is Kyoto Montsuki, a Kyoto based atelier whose patented absolute black – shinkuro – black oxide dyeing process has to be seen to be believed. Trust me, you have never seen a black quite so black.
Again this is a brand I want to focus an entire article on in the future, especially as they have a fabulous 100 year history and a 20 page manifesto on the importance of black in Japanese aesthetics that I am currently reading through.
That is it for part 1, we still have so much more to share, and next time will be the turn of the big trends to watch out for this S/S 2013