Share Spirit doesn’t just treat clothes as fashion, they are a gateway to a different view of the world and to cultures far removed from their concrete home in Daikanyama. Whereas many of designer Hikaru Katano’s peers like KMRii and 14th Addiction are inspired by the aesthetics of various tribes from around the globe, he takes it one step further and literally incorporates that process of anthropology into his brand – Share Spirit. There is no other designer who engages so much with his inspirations, personally travelling to the locations that inspire his work, employing the local craftsmen to make it, researching ancient techniques and actually incorporating millennia old artifacts in his clothes. But crucially, this is not where the process ends, as Hikaru Katano brings all those thousands of years worth of civilisation together and focuses it through his own personal lens to create something altogether darker, respectful of the cultures that have gone before. Make no mistake, this is not a primary coloured tourist guidebook, this is raw, rugged and far removed from the new-age vision of ethnic fashion.
Continue reading for a look at the aesthetic as a whole and the pieces and details that go to make it, clothes that one day will deserve a place in a museum all of their own. Did I mention that I am a fan?
First I thought I would establish the “feel” of the brand with a look at one of their recent exhibitions which does well to sum up the concept pretty neatly. With Share Spirit you don’t necessarily know when their vintage or original antiques end and their brand new collection begins. It is a credit indeed to the design that you can’t spot the difference between centuries old fabric and the new, and many of the new pieces do include portions of the old – it all just flows together and is utterly unified. On top of that, not only are the ages mixed, but also the origin. You can spot Indonesian bone skulls next to German antler conchos, with orignal snatches of Incan fabric on modern leather lacquered with Japanese resin. Keep that in mind as you marvel at these:
I tried to buy that waist-bag on the left – unfortunately I was denied…
It is all authentic whether old or new. You won’t find any dodgy plating or plastic here.
When you are dealing with antiquities you are never far from mortality.
Beyond the aesthetic, there is only awe at the substance behind it.
With that established, on to clothes and accessories in isolation:
The glory is in the details – look at the textures and the mix of textiles, simply stunning.
One of Share Spirit’s best touches is the use of Japanese Urushi lacquer on leather. It is incredibly hardy stuff and can add a great shiny texture to the leather.
From the Homme line:
The look changes year on year, this year is that of the colonial soldier.
For the ladies line (that predates the men’s by many seasons):
Punk of the Opera.
Those bumps under the leather in the collar are actual CBR for piercing – modern symbols find their place next to the old.
One day I will get myself into the Share Spirit Museum in Daikanyama with my new Macro lens and get the detailed pictures that this brand surely deserves. For now you will have to trust me (and all who have made it in) that it is of simply the highest quality imaginable.
So there you go, a look into my favorite haunt of Tokyo town. A museum dedicated to the idea of “timeless cool” – trends may come and go, but this will all remain. It is great to see (as a young-ish person) that items from my lifetime such as piercings, ripped denim and studs have made it into the same category as Venetian vanity skulls and cameo detailing in this temple of cool. Whatever your persuasion I urge you to make the pilgrimage to this place and next time maybe I will show you my own collection of Share Spirit…