We first came across Uemulo Munenoli, and designer and nice chap Uemuro Munenori, way back at the roomsLINK fashion exhibition in Tokyo in October, and I have to say that I was instantly struck by the strength of vision and clarity in his design work. This is a man who breathes life into white shirts.
Over the past few months I’ve felt myself becoming more drawn to menswear, and shirts have become a huge part of this. Samuel treated me to a very delicious Limi Feu shirt for Christmas (I love it, can’t wait to wear it to fashion week next year!), and I’ve slowly been building my collection of shirts – a recent hit was a Comme des Garcons tricot white shirt with pink collar and cuffs that I found for the bargain price of just 1000 Yen! I really like the contrast created when wearing a white shirt in an otherwise totally black outfit, there’s something quite awkward and yet strong about this image for me.
Uemulo Munenoli isn’t the first to experiment with the white shirt in Japanese fashion: of course I’m a huge dribbling shaky-handed fan of the aforementioned Comme des Garcons, Limi Feu and Yohji Yamamoto who have all played with re-imagining the white shirt at some point or another. I think this kind of pushing clothing conventions is a fine example of what I find so attractive about fashion here in Japan, hopefully I won’t sound too pretentious but it really is boundary pushing…
On to to Uemulo Munenoli now; the concept is deceptively simple, a collection of white shirts. However, these are no ordinary white shirts, as you can probably tell from the first image back up the page. I love the innovative way Munenori dissects the pattern of standard shirt and creates something totally new, a sculpture in white cotton.
Although white shirts are undoubtedly an iconic part of menswear, by twisting and reshaping them, folding the fabric and opening it up, Munenori is able to create something almost outrageously feminine from this blank male state. There’s something almost harshly beautiful at work here, and I do hope that you’ll fall in love with Uemulo Munenoli just as I have.