HIP Spotlight: Japanese Clothing Brands

Japanese design is famed for its craftsmanship, attention to detail and innovation. Underneath such values lays a yearning for nostalgia, with many Japanese brands citing western culture and styles as major influences on their design ethos. The beauty of Japanese clothing is its ability to enhance and reimagine classic pieces of menswear, making them referential […]

Japanese design is famed for its craftsmanship, attention to detail and innovation. Underneath such values lays a yearning for nostalgia, with many Japanese brands citing western culture and styles as major influences on their design ethos. The beauty of Japanese clothing is its ability to enhance and reimagine classic pieces of menswear, making them referential yet forward-looking. Since HIP opened in 1987, Japanese labels have always been at the forefront of our curation of fascinating contemporary brands. Whether it be elevated streetwear, luxury garments or tech-forward outdoor labels, our collection includes some of the most sophisticated brands to emerge from Japan. 

and wander

Designed to be worn on both the mountains and in the city, and wander combines technical materials with the sensibilities of high-fashion. The label has changed the landscape of the outdoorswear genre with its mission to make “fashion in the nature / mountains just as enjoyable”, creating detailed pieces with utilitarian undertones. With its garments and accessories meticulously field tested prior to release, and the label continuing to innovate with fabric and design, and wander continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Beams Plus

Beams Plus perfectly meshes the best of Americana menswear with Japan’s famed tailoring and craftsmanship. Born out of Tokyo’s esteemed Beams stable in 1999, Beams Plus has been rightly lauded ever since. The label harks back to the golden era of American casualwear and brings the rugged aesthetic of that age to the modern day, with contemporary cuts and materials. Beams Plus offers classic staples such as checked shirts, striped tees and banded collars, refreshed with interesting patterns and vibrant colours.

Comfy Outdoor Garment

Drawing heavy inspiration from mountaineering gear worn in the American Northwest, Comfy Outdoor Garment is a Tokyo-based outdoors brand founded by Makoto from the famous LOSTHILLS store in Harajuku. Presenting a visionary design language that captures both the Japanese and Western markets, Comfy Outdoor Garment offer outdoor tech-wear fabrics, utilitarian silhouettes and multifunctional blueprints designed for an all-round active lifestyle.

Engineered Garments

Engineered Garments make intricate, long-lasting clothing that ages with wear, growing added sentimentality through personal experiences and memories. The label was founded in 1999 by Daiki Suzuki under Nepenthes. It portrays his fascination with classic American workwear, touching on different eras and subgenres, as Suzuki presents clothing filled with historical references. With cultural themes guiding each collection, the label oscillates between contemporary patterns and different material choices each season, whilst maintaining an aesthetic that is truly timeless.

Goldwin

Goldwin began in 1951 when Tsuzawa Knit Fabric Manufacturer was established in western Toyama, Japan and began its journey as a sportswear manufacturer. Into the 50’s, Goldwin produced skiwear and outdoors clothing, which remains the brand’s speciality. Whilst it is also responsible for handling TNF Purple Label and nanamica – two of the most respected, function-forward labels in the Japanese market. To this day, Goldwin maintains it’s popularity in Japan for being fully integrated in the rationality of outdoors – offering simple and wearable designs all year round.

Nanamica

Nanamica explores the intersection between utility and sportswear; combining fashion and functionality to create elevated everyday garments designed to enrich the lives of its wearers. The label marries a human-oriented philosophy with a Japanese emphasis on design and product. Nanamica, or the “house of the seven seas”, uses the ocean as an anchor to guide its mantra of creating garments inclusive for everyone. Its notion of “One Ocean, All Lands” is a metaphor for a peaceful lifestyle – which Nanamica makes simpler through practical garments.

Neighborhood

Neighborhood is a Japanese streetwear icon. The label first launched in 1994 – as a byproduct of founder Shinsuke Takizawa’s visits to the famous Tokyo area Harajuku in the 80s, at a time of immense cultural revolution. With western inspirations offering new conceptions of style and culture, Neighborhood became immersed in a world of motorcyles and punk rock. Translating its interests into highly wearable garments that still resonate to this day, Neighborhood marries streetwear and utilitywear with the sophistication of high-fashion. Quirky and tasteful living products have also added a new dimension to the brand’s offering.

Needles

Another label part of Nepenthes is Needles. The brand presents a nostalgic yet contemporary take on vintage Americana and collegiate styles, remoulding them with subtle touches and bold silhouettes. Needles offers a multi-faceted collection: elevated sportswear, patchwork denim, classic cardigans, reimagined Americana shirts and jackets, and even reworked one-off vintage pieces. With its signature butterfly logo inspired by Steve McQueen’s tattoo in the film Papillon (1973), Needles offers contemporary style imbued with cultural relevance.

orSlow

A brand born out of a sheer passion for vintage workwear and military garments, orSlow was established in 2005 by Ichiro Nakatsu. The Hyogo-based label is antithetical to the modern fast-fashion industry, focusing on refinement and the process of craftsmanship – taking inspiration from clothes born in the 19th and 20th century.  All items are designed and made in Japan, with the label’s “slow” approach to clothing involving time, care and attention – reflected by subtle details, fits and material choices. orSlow designs build-to-last clothing that can adapt to different styles, eras and people. 

Porter-Yoshida & Co

Officially founded by Kichizo Yoshida in 1935, Porter-Yoshida & Co. have a rich history in bag production with origins dating  back to 1923. During the great Kanto earthquake that struck Tokyo that year, Kichizo managed to salvage some of his possessions by tying both ends of a cord to the items and holding the cord on his shoulders. This dramatic experience helped Kichizo to coin his motto, “a bag should first of all be a tool to carry goods”. Produced exclusively in Japan, Porter bags are made from durable nylon that repels dirt and water and is made to last. Combining elegance and functionality, Porter-Yoshida & Co. bags are a timeless symbol of style.

Snow Peak

Snow Peak was founded in 1958 by Yukio Yamai in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan. The region is known for its impressive mountain range and series of rivers and streams that flow out to the East Japan sea. Yamai was an avid mountaineer and designed his own range of climbing products to aid his expeditions, marking the start of Snow Peak. In 1980, Snow Peak was passed down to Yamai’s son, Tohru Yamai, who brought the brand international recognition in his pioneering of Japan’s growing outdoor camping culture, encouraging people to reconnect with nature. Snow Peak still inspires people to cultivate that same harmony with nature today, whilst creating whole-life apparel that can be worn everyday, no matter the environment.  

South2 West8

With the same inherent functionality as genres like sportswear and outdoorswear, South2 West8’s technical fishing gear provides a fascinating alternative. Founded in 2003 and named after the district of Sapporo in which the label’s flagship store is located, South2 West8 is formally designed for tenkara – a mode of Japanese fly fishing. Using vivid colours, patterns and practical features, the label offers eye-catching utilitarian clothing complimented by excellent craftsmanship – something that has become customary with all Nepenthes labels.

Visvim

Visvim is luxury menswear at its finest. The label’s founder Hiroki Nakamura travels the world to discover new and old methods of weaving, dying and assembling textiles. The designer even explores indigenous tribes, discovering heritage by looking at native traditions and methods of craft. When he returns to Tokyo, Nakamura collects his findings into dissertations, building upon centuries of research. Visvim seeks to create the “future vintage” – a phrase that speaks to the label’s timeless style. Merging Americana and workwear, every Visvim garment possesses innate character and meaning, portraying its founder’s quest for perfection.

WACKO MARIA

WACKO MARIA started out as a Tokyo-based record store formed in 2005, with a strong affinity for live music, collecting records and good times. It draws inspiration from an eclectic mix of sources – American art, film and music as well as ‘friends, wine and women’. Everything WACKO MARIA creates is filled with glamour and romance, offering elevated ready-to-wear emblazoned with signature slogans ‘GUILTY PARTIES’ and ‘PARADISE TOKYO’. Expect to see unconventional graphics, eye-catching patterns and classic American casualwear accentuated with intricate details.

Explore our Japanese Edit for SS22 online at HIP now.

Published by Oliver Jackson

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