During my time in London, England apprenticing to become a stylist, the Japanese students were the ones to watch, with their intricately layered ensembles featuring a mixture of western fashion references. Before the explosion of the Internet with street style blogs and their immediate fashion advice, these kids were killing it with style. They always added their own twist. Now, thanks to street-style blogs, Japanese fashion has hit the mainstream. The exposure has lead to numerous obscure labels finding their way to Canadian retailers. With our generation’s hunger for individual style, Japanese labels are hunted down and praised and quickly Instagrammed like a prized catch.
Here are a few new Japanese labels being served up by our local Calgary boutiques.
Picked up by Understudy, Needles is designed by Keizo Shimizu, the founder of Nepenthes, a ledgendary Japanese retail store established in 1988. The line was created from Shimizu’s very personal viewpoint. With 20 years of experience, the designer has brought together his network to deliver a collection without compromise.
“Beautiful Lines – A form born out of raising a question to perfection,” is the opening statement by Masahiro Maruyama, designer of his eponymously-named eyewear label’s website. This sets the mood to his uniquely designed eyewear picked up by Brass Monocle. Praised for their beautiful shapes and quality, Maruyama designs are crafted with traditional techniques. The direct translation of his line drawings to production give Maruyama’s eyewear a look unlike any other.
Creep by Hiroshi Awai
Available at Leo Boutique, this label originated in Osaka, Japan by Kiyofumi Awai in 1997 and was brought to Canada in 2008 by his sibling, Hiroshi. With this intercontinental brotherly connection, Creep has been able to successfully blend cutting-edge Japanese designs and the endeared functionality of American work wear.
This story was part of Avenue’s free weekly Style Newsletter. Sign up now and get home decor and fashion information and advice in your inbox every week.