In the last few years, a number of Japanese fashion brands have gained international recognition for the attention to detail in their work and unexpected design aesthetic. Japanese fashion is often branded as being about minimalistic aesthetics, neutral colours, clean lines and natural materials. In general, these are fair assessments of Japanese brands that are becoming more and more visible on international runways. A new breed of Japanese designers has emerged with a much different take on modern Japanese fashion, one that’s inspired by punk subculture, 70s glamour, anime characters and other niche concepts. These designers are not just making clothes but also creating entire clothing lines inspired by famous musicians like Nirvana or David Bowie. It’s this type of quirky creativity that has earned some unique Japanese brands a place in the international market as leading innovators of cool street wear.
Undercover – One of the top Japanese fashion brands
Undercover – One of the top Japanese fashion brands Undercover is a Japanese brand known for its casual yet stylish menswear, but the label is so much more than that. Founded in 1995 by UT (Yoshida Taku), the brand gained a cult following in Japan for its insanely popular Pigalle footwear model. Pigalle is the name of a red-light district in Paris where UT was living at the time and where he found inspiration for the sandal-like Pigalle model. Undercover quickly earned a reputation for its attention to detail and unique use of materials. Designer Taku’s motto is “to produce things that are as close to perfect as possible.” The brand also pays close attention to heritage labels and is inspired by classic menswear silhouettes. Undercover is often described as “timeless” and “elegant,” with a “French-Japanese” aesthetic that’s a blend of Parisian and Tokyo Street style.
COMING SOON: MU and BLEND SHOP from Japan
MU is a brand created by Shinichi Yoshida, a Japanese designer and artist who is also the founder of the Japanese creative agency BLEND Inc. Yoshida has described his MU brand as “a subculture-driven brand that doesn’t fit into any particular genre or category.” MU’s collections include men’s and women’s garments, accessories, and an outdoor apparel line. So far, MU’s most popular products have been its graphic tees, sweats, and hoodies featuring pop culture references, humorous messages, and bold graphics. MU’s products are sold at a number of retailers around the world, including Amazon, Zalando, and Joyce.
GULSHAN from Japan
GULSHAN is a Japanese brand that produces a variety of different items, from apparel to accessories. Since its foundation in 2009, the brand has become known for its playful designs and bold use of colour. It’s a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is evident in its use of humour, puns, and pop culture references. GUISHAN’s logo is also a tongue-in-cheek design, with a stylized “GU” logo that looks like the Japanese character 久 (gu). GUISHAN is best known for its collaboration with American street wear brand VANS. Together, the brands have released a number of high-quality sneakers, including the GUISHAN x VANS “GOLDEN PIG” model, a high-top sneaker inspired by the Chinese zodiac.
BAPE STORE from Japan
BAPE is a Japanese street wear brand that produces apparel, accessories, and other items with a strong focus on quality. The brand was founded in 1993 by a Japanese fashion designer, Nigo. BAPE is not just a fashion label – it’s a lifestyle concept with an emphasis on creativity, community, and freedom. BAPE is best known for its iconic camouflage printed designs, a motif that has become a staple in street wear culture. The brand is also known for its attention to detail and high-quality materials, including its durable, water-resistant nylon fabric. BAPE has collaborated with a number of high-profile brands, including the New York Yankees baseball team, the pop group One Direction, and the major music festival Lollapalooza.
KOBAAEND is a Japanese brand that produces a wide range of apparel and accessories. The brand’s name is a combination of its founder’s name, “Kobayashi,” and “END.” KOBAAEND’s designs are heavily influenced by Japanese culture, history, and tradition, as well as American subcultures. KOBAAEND is best known for its hybrid clothing designs, combining different types of garments, such as a cardigan and a hoodie, or a jacket and a pair of pants. The brand has collaborated with a number of leading fashion and street wear brands, including CULTURE WHILE.
The brands listed above are just some examples of the exciting and fresh fashion coming out of Japan. So what is it about Japan that inspires such creativity? There are many theories about this, but ultimately, it can be attributed to the fact that designers in Japan are free to explore their imaginations without feeling pressured to adhere to an international norm. It’s this freedom from traditional fashion standards and openness to new ideas and concepts that make Japanese fashion so exciting and appealing.