The Japanese capital’s fashion scene is brimming with new brands that are blending high fashion with outdoor styles.
With Japan almost opening up to international travel, the time is ripe to hit Tokyo’s streets. While the city might have recently been out of reach to travellers, its fashion industry has continued to be globally outstanding. Across these pages we showcase new brands, as well as fresh products and initiatives from some old favourites.
Ryona Tani, the 46-year-old designer and founder of new Tokyo brand Innat, says that “relaxed” is the current mood of the city’s fashion scene. “People are drawn to styles here that they can relate to in their daily life,” he says. And this is the vibe that Tani (pictured), who used downtime during the pandemic to launch his label, channels into unisex clothing that is already gaining a dedicated following.
Rather than having to deal with difficulties of orders in different fabrics, Tani creates all of Innat’s clothes in the same white cloth and then dyes the finished pieces. For this he uses dyes that draw upon Binchotan charcoal from the Kishu region, coffee grains and gardenia and rubia extracts. The result is a unique 15-piece debut collection. “Every piece comes out slightly differently in its depth of colour,” he says. “That’s their fate when dying them this way. I hope that people will find this a positive characteristic.”
“Every piece comes out slightly differently in its depth of colour. That’s their fate when dying them this way. I hope that people will find this a positive characteristic”
Clearly they have and the collection – in light pink, charcoal and beige – is being snapped up. It includes a baggy fishtail coat, snow-camo trousers and a pyjama shirt that has military and workwear references in its detailing. Tani says that while vintage clothing is an inspiration, adding modern elements and not conforming to a predetermined style is his niche. “The border is disappearing between performance, fashion and lifestyle,” he says. “That’s the mood in our city and I feel the same way as a designer.”
“I want to capture the emotions of people across each season,” says Yuki Sato, the 36-year-old Tokyo native and director of menswear label (and art gallery) Cale. “And I use fabrics and colours to do so.” Sato (pictured) only uses natural materials such as cotton, wool and linen but brings textures and detailing to the fore.
Such qualities can be spotted in the grey jackets and trousers in Cale’s current spring/summer collection. At a glance, they appear to be regular grey pieces but when held up to natural light, they reveal subtle patterns. “It’s understated but I hope this leaves an impression,” says Sato.
Takeshi Mori is revolutionising orthopaedic footwear. “My mother had issues such as headaches and shoulder pains when I was growing up,” he says. “My father realised that having the right posture would solve her problems and taught himself how to make orthopaedic insoles for her.” While it was initially out of duty that he began learning the craft of insole-making, Mori (pictured) soon caught the bug and launched his bespoke insoles company, Footworks.
While it was initially out of duty that he began learning the craft of insole-making, Mori soon caught the bug and launched his bespoke insoles company, Footworks
Footworks’ clients, who include professional athletes, like his relaxed shop-cum-atelier, where insoles are made over three appointments in two months. Customers can then put these in their New Balance trainers one day and John Lobb shoes the next. Some seven years ago, Footworks launched bespoke leather shoes to allow the brand’s insoles to perform at their best. “I work with just one craftsman in Tokyo,” says Mori, showing a pair of sandals. “I also started these sandals last year,” he says of the stylish summer footwear, which is sold in shops such as Comoli, United Arrows and Biotop.
Loomer takes the knowhow of Bishu-based weaving company T’acca and the creative direction of Takayuki Minami (founder of Tokyo label Graphpaper) and applies them to a fine collection of fashion and homeware. The label produces scarves, rugs and blankets in alpaca, wool, silk and cotton in seasonal hues using traditional techniques. This summer, look out for lightweight Loomer scarves in cotton-silk selvedge and designs that use botanical dyes.
Bags of charm
Daiwa 3 POTR
Daiwa is a household name in the fishing world but recently it has been making waves in fashion. A couple of years ago, the Japanese fishing gear giant launched Daiwa Pier 39, an urban clothing label inspired by its outdoor DNA. From parkas to shorts and safari jackets, its clothes are endearingly functional. This spring it collaborated with potr, sister label of Tokyo bag brand Porter, on a capsule bag collection – a prime example of two star brands elevating each other.
Launched last year, Visvim Sport is a cousin of Tokyo brand Visvim. The line is overseen by Visvim founder and designer Hiroki Nakamura, who is known for his unwavering pursuit of high-quality production. This standard has been applied to the fitness range that includes an anorak, hooded pullover, T-shirts, boxer shorts and trainers. Nakamura uses premium New Zealand raw wool so that pieces are soft and breathable yet stretchy and durable.
styling: Naoki Ikeda. grooming: Narumi Tsukuba. model: Kou. local producer: Shinri Kobayashi