7 JAPANESE BRANDS YOU SHOULD KNOW
FROM WHITE MOUNTAINEERING TO JOURNAL STANDARD
When it comes to menswear, in fact any kind of fashion, we tend to all follow the same types of brands. Across Europe you have Britain, France and Italy dominating, with the US also creeping in too. However, Asia is a very big market for fashion brands we know and love here in Europe e.g. we see Asian models on the catwalks at fashion weeks and Japanese fabrics and collections sold at menswear fairs such as Pitti Uomo. Despite its Eastern location, Japan is part of the Western world and it should by no means be overshadowed by its European counterparts in the clothing industry - so here are seven Japanese brands you should know.
Admittedly before researching into this brand I wasn’t aware they derive from Japan, but having producing clothing since the 80s, they are in the running when it comes to high street fashion. Their style is simple and casual, from summer linen to polo shirts and sportswear. As of late they have also been working on some interesting collaborations with their most recent being Liberty of London; expect some flamboyant styles to hit the stores very soon.
A form of contemporary tailoring with unstructured blazers and parkas, along with checked and unique patterned shirts. Knitwear is a wool mix blend or yarn, either ribbed or plain. The style overall is very clean, fresh and makes good wear for winter layering. With inspiration from the American workwear heritage, the popular Harajuku brand also makes a range of accessories such as sunglasses and watches.
If there’s a brand synonymous in Japan for being practical without compromising on design, it’s this one. An outdoor activity inspired brand which boasts technical features within fabrics and innovative development. The story behind the brand is also that of an interesting one - it began in Japan in 2001 by founder Yosuke Aizawa and over the years the brand successfully collaborated with Moncler and Adidas.
Undercover is probably one of the most recognised Japanese brands of avant-garde style. Creating bold patterns with statement graphics their designs are rare and unique. With some less loud than others; either muted colours with unusual pleats and lines or flamboyant patterned jackets and hats with horns and large print shirts and overcoats. If you like to stand out with high quality, Undercover has the dynamics you might well be looking for.
Blue Blue Japan
Launched in Tokyo in the early 1990s this brand is famous for its signature use of blue. However, there is more to just adding colour to their fabrics, their traditional dying techniques makes each item distinctive and unique from the other. From denim to cotton the brand is 100% made in Japan, and with the occasional shade of white there is no other colour in sight. With patchwork jeans and jackets as well as dark blue denim, their collections are a neat backdrop for a fresh look.
Leading Japanese raw denim brand, Samurai jeans, have been producing high quality denim since the 1990s. Their raw denim undergoes some rare techniques such as a dying process with persimmon juice which produces some of the strongest denim known. Inspired by Levis, Samurai was one of the first Japanese denim brands to take influence from the US under distinct Japanese production. Whilst they’re proud of their heritage, they’re constantly developing new limited edition designs.
Developing clothing for men, women and children since the 70s, Beams caters for almost any occasion. Descending from Tokyo’s Harajuku area, the brand lies in the centre of fashion where you’re able to pick up clothing for your everyday wardrobe. With a laid back vibe, the Beams style is a little on the preppy side with a wardrobe which is often smart. With the use of high quality cotton and leathers their offering remains fairly streamlined, consisting of t-shirts and button down shirts, loafers, jewellery and accessories - as well as a few homewares so you can keep your pad in stylish shape.