In the interests of clearing the backlog of Tokyo Fashion Week S/S 2012 collections that are threatening the structural integrity of my desk I thought I might try and cover a couple in a short burst as it were, grouping together a couple of disperate collections to try and find a common thread between them that unites them under the umbrella of “Japanese menswear now”. And “now” is the operative word, as many of these collections are set to hit retail in the next couple of days or by the end of February by the latest.
First up we have STOF with their S/S 2012 – “Appearance of Auspicious Omen” which takes the cultish imagery that has been doing the rounds in Tokyo and gives it the native twist that generally makes its appearance in time for Spring. The mood is naive, vague and a fitting ensemble for the modern Tokyo bohemian. It is a look that can be worn conventionally masculinely if you stick to the monotone colours, but by throwing in the soft yellows and blues you can easily attempt something a little more subtly flamboyant without entering fashionista territory.
MANU are on their second season with “Sleep”, a collection that takes its inspiration from blankets, pillows, dressing gowns and the softer lines of the human body at rest. Pleasantly hard lines in the seams and lapels are contrasted with an overal shape that is as louche as you could ever hope for. Like Stof, it is abstract in the details, low in the silhouette and alludes to a passive, bohemian masculinity.
Howl enter S/S 2012 with “Relax and Rock’n’Roll”, a collection inspired by the image of the Rolling Stones on holiday in Morocco. It is a timelessly cool collection packed with high-quality linens and like the latter as relaxed as possible fit within the confines of classic streetwear clothes.
Finally we have Sise with “The feel of Summer” a very young and boyish collection featuring a subtly oversized and relaxed silhouette topped off with a sharp yellow and blue. It is a bit of an odd one in that it is a brand that should fit the bohemian and artistic types the previous three will reach, but thanks to the brand’s high-profile placement in Wut Berlin will find an audience with avant-garde street style aficionados on the hunt for proportion play and stronger colours.
So there you have it, 4 Japanese streetwear brands working with pretty simular influences and aiming at broadly the same market. Who are you siding with?