Anime and manga tie-ins with Japanese fashion don’t exactly have the best track record, but in the last couple of years the standard has really elevated to the point where it is not a matter of blurring the line between those two cultural forces, but rather removing it altogether. Exceptional collections have included No, No, Yes! prolific use of Neon Genesis Evangelion, even going so far as to put together an entire collection on the subject, and also Kawano / Hiromu Takahara’s long awaited collaboration with Final Fantasy Versus. It is a move that embraces the aesthetics and cultural contributions that otaku culture has made to Japanese society, especially as the music, film and television industry seems determined to stagnate in the mainstream.
This Gundam line from Sotsu-Sunrise (which I first wrote about in The Japan Times newspaper) is probably the closest thing yet to an invisible anime branding exercise we have yet to see in fashion. Whereas designers like No, No, Yes! and Fugahum who have made use of otaku imagery in their work are keen for it to be prominent and bold in the clothes, Strict-G is very subversive and if coordinated correctly would elude all but those in the know. You may ask, if that is the case, then what is the point? Surely you would want other people to know that you are showing your love for the series? Well, in Japan, contrary to the 90s party line that it was in any way acceptable to be an otaku outside of a mile square of west Tokyo, it is best to be a little subtle with these interests in public, but more than that, I can’t help but think that in this case fashion is best served for the benefit of the wearer themselves, who can smile at the Gundam references in their clothes and not have to worry about what the neighbors will say.
The design team behind Strict-G have been very witty in how they have incorporated the Gundam into the fashion, and it definitely feels like good design first and references to the iconic second – for example, the chest vents in the above are aesthetically pleasing in and of themselves.
The integration of shapes from the robots into the patterns runs from the obvious, to broader shapes that will take you a while to spot.
That is all I have for the lookbook, so I thought I would highlight some individual items:
There is also a silver jewelry line produced by Jam Home Made whose work is exactly as precise as you would expect from them.
There are a handful of obviously branded items like the key-holders on the left, but I think there is something wonderful about the coin case on the right, which you only know is Gundam themed when you crack it open and see that iconic colour scheme staring back at you.
But it doesn’t stop there, Mastermind Japan and even Onitsuka Tiger are going to be working with Strict-G over the next coming months – so expect more Gundam fashion very soon indeed.