The strong urban shapes of Toga’s very first “Virilis” menswear collection find themselves honed further to accentuate the 50s influences behind this great new Tokyo-based fashion brand. A quick visit to the Harajuku flagship is all you need to make it crystal clear that designer Yasuko Furuta, for all her inventive progression, is fundamentally a student of the history of fashion. This is exemplified by the gleaming store being neighbored by a dinky little shed full of vintage and even inside the main shop there is the Odds and Ends remake line which combines vintage with new work. It all leads to a brand that has managed to find a way to successfully blur the borders between new and vintage fashion and actively encourages the wearer to mix the two together over forcing the “new” on to the customer when the collection is in itself a re-telling of the vintage.
Simply put, I can think of few brands that so directly acknowledge their fashion influences (aside from maybe Share Spirit), and it is a credit to the skill of Toga that the two can sit so comfortably. It strikes me that like Share Spirit, elements of vintage are literally introduced within the work to not only overtly acknowledge the origin, but also for the designer to pay a personal homage to the fashion of the time. This approach generally has the effect of limiting the appeal of the line to those who “get” it, but on the other hand it clearly creates a strong bond for those who do and in the world of Tokyo fashion that is no bad thing at all. Either way, in this case it has produced great work that, like the women’s output, takes a classic style and gives it just enough of a tweak to make it feel fresh and exciting.
As this brand is a little younger than its female counterpart, it doesn’t have a huge wealth of stockists (unlike the women’s which is conveniently stocked at LN-CC), so your best bet is ZOZO for now, but I will let you know if I find anywhere with a larger selection.