Harajuku’s street fashion has evolved over the years, and Japan’s fashion industry has grown in its clout in the international scene. Many of the street-style brands have started rocking the runways in the ‘big four’ fashion capitals of the world.
Some of these brands may be a little elusive online, but with Google Translate, navigating through the Japanese online stores is a lot more convenient! I’ve compiled a list of 10 Japanese street-style brands to flaunt, if you want to keep up with the latest trends in the Japanese scene.
Jun Takahashi, the designer for Undercover, is considered an artist whose canvas is clothing. His brand’s diverse palette varies through the seasons and always challenges societal concepts with a tinge of punk.
His “Brain-Washed Generation” collection features models with zombie-like looks, to show how the media is making us think less and just mindlessly follow trends.
Kiks Tyo was founded by hobby:tech. who’s a DJ, designer and streetwear/sneaker culture personality. His marketing resembles that of Hooters; from T-shirts printed with Japanese Bikini idols to Facebook banners of quasi-nude girls.
But if your fashion tastes run towards more conservative styles, Kiks Tyo has other collections which mainly feature typography on jackets and other everyday-wear items.
Sorry guys, Mercury Duo is a female-centric brand. It epitomises the idea of the ‘sunshine girl’, with flowy floral dresses, pastel culottes and lace skirts. This is the Japanese equivalent of Brandy Melville.
The brand’s concept is “Flesh Elegance”, and its objective is to incorporate qualities of elegance, modernity, metropolitan and nature in its palette.
Visvim earned their brand following from their iconic FBR Moccasin shoe, which turned into a cult classic. In their clothing line, they pride themselves in using rare textiles and intricate labour-intensive methods.
Previously, Visvim explored the art of bamboo dyeing and hand sketching. This season, they’ve explored patterns ranging from foliage to the likes of those on bandannas, applying them to unconventional parts of outfits such as the hems of a dress or even the lapels of a coat.
Sophnet carries three lines under its brand name: Sophnet, Uniform Experiment and F.C. Real Bristol. Sophnet seeks to highlight the concept of sophisticated daily wear, by incorporating details for multi-usages and high tech material.
Uniform Experiment focusses solely on menswear. It’s an experimental project (hence the name) which tests boundaries and implants foreign concepts onto clothing. Such concepts are shown through the use of typography along the edges of a collar, to an odd yet somehow stylish combination of four different stripe patterns on a button down shirt.
F.C. Real Bristol arose from the passion for football that its designer, Hirofumi Kiyonaga, had. The name represents an imaginary football club in Hirofumi’s utopian world. And so, the clothing line mainly features pieces from the sportswear realm.
Wacko Maria occupies a niche, by infusing the subtleties of arts, music and culture into their line of clothing. In their latest S/S 2018 release, they carefully curated the musical references of the rockabilly and reggae tones into their pieces.
Iconic patterns, ranging from the tri-colour tones that Bob Marley is known for, to the Spice Girls album art theme are added into each piece with meticulous effort.
Pronounced ‘double taps’ and inspired by the regimental order for soldiers to deftly fire two shots, Wtap’s collection similarly revolves around military uniforms.
From vests adorned with utility pouches to heavy duty parkas to withstand the harshest of weathers, Wtaps has moved into the age of functionality and ease of wear in their latest S/S 2018 collection.
Toga Archives is literally translated to “blessed robe”. Although Yasuko Furota’s S/S 2018 collection plays around three key elements (“Holes, Suits, And Crumpled”), I believe “transparency” should also be included. This is especially true because of the numerous pieces styled using plastics, fine mesh and tulle, bringing the meticulous effort in layering to the forefront.
It takes an astute eye for detail to see through Furota’s planned chaos, and to understand the amount of complex fabric research done to bring together defining genres through the ages. What’s more, all of this is complemented with intricate detailing.
Often abbreviated as The Soloist, this brand is headed by designer Takahiro Miyashita who has close ties with Jun Takahashi, the brilliant mind behind Undercover. It’s not uncommon to see the subtle influences that their works have on each other.
His latest A/W 2018 runway show distinctly featured a new twist to the term “hoodies”. Incorporating the cyberpunk-esque hoods with post-apocalyptic gas masks and technical jackets, The Soloist shows us who is at the forefront of fashion.
You can’t deny they look like outfits from the video game Assasin’s Creed and if you’re a fan, this season’s drop is meant for you too!
For a more conservative way of referring to this suggestive brand, FR2 will do. Living up to its brand name, FR2 presents itself in the most provocative of ways. Spilling out merchandise from condoms to Cocoa Candy Cigarettes, FR2’s clothing takes a bolder step with semi-nude female models in their Fall 2015 season titled Fxxking V/SUAL.
This season, they took on a different approach with a play on referencing. Their collaboration with Champion means that you can expect to find the iconic Champion logo in the midst of the word ‘f*ck’ along the sleeves. Also, they mashed up their brand name into the defining T-shirt logos of street brands, such as Gucci, DHL and even FedEx’s logo.
Fxxking Rabbits: Website
Now that you know what to add to your wardrobe, picking an outfit for your trip to Japan won’t be an issue for your next Instagram post.
Let us know which your favourites are from this list or drop a comment if we have missed out on your go-to brand! If Korean street-wear is more your speed, then check out our list of 10 Korean street-style brands that will equally put you ahead of the fashion game.