One of Japan’s best known fashion brands
Yohji Yamamoto (1943) was born in Tokyo and studied law before entering Bunka Fukusou Gakuin.
Yamamoto’s designs often differ greatly from current trends. This was especially true in his early years, when his designs were oversized, de-structured and in a single color, especially black. Over the years, many of his designs have become more practical and his silhouette more structured.
Yamamoto’s influence on the world’s fashion world can not be underestimated. During the 1980’s, Yamamoto was actually seen as part of the Japanese trio that completely redefined fashion, the other two being Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake.
Y’s, Yamamoto’s first line, was created in 1972 and he did his first show in Tokyo in 1977. Y’s for men started in 1979. The first Yohji Yamamoto collection was shown in 1981 in Paris. Yohji Yamamoto pour Homme followed in 1984, the same year thatYOHJI YAMAMOTO INC. was founded. Yohji Yamamoto + Noir was launched in 1995.
In 2002, Yamamoto presented his Haute couture collection in Paris and he formed a relationship with exclusive Parisian boutiques. 2003 saw the opening of the Y’s line flagship store in Roppongi Hills as well as the launch of Y-3, Yamamoto’s successful partnership with Adidas. In 2006, his collaboration with Italian luggage specialistMandarina Duck was started under the label Y’s Mandarina.
Besides designing his iconic fashion, Yamamoto has also done costume design for Takeshi Kitano (Brother, Dolls, Zatoichi), Wim Wenders, Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Pina Bausch Company and Wagner’s Opera “Tristan and Isolde” inBayreuth.
Yamamoto has won a large number of prestigious awards.
Created by founder Mayuki Zhou in Taipei,Tokyo Fashion encompasses all the different Japanese styles that make international headlines. Devoted fans adore the brand for its vast selection of feminine styles and luscious materials, including kawaii tops, classy blouses, and romantic dresses. The fashion savvy collection offers something for every taste and mood, with each piece effortlessly hinting at your inner sweetness.
One of Tokyo's most fashion forward districts, Shibuya is famous for its five-way crosswalk, its vibrant nightlife, and for showcasing the latest in pop culture. ageha@shibuya's collection brings you the most hip and happening styles straight from the heart of Tokyo's fashion hub Shibuya. Perfect for avid trend followers and young girls who love to stand out, the brand's street style collection features the latest pieces from the district at affordable prices. Pull on any piece from the collection and you're instantly the hottest news in town.
A unique designer brand from Osaka, Japan, Buden Akindo brings Japanese art to contemporary casual wear. Buden means "stall" or "pushcart" in German, while Akindo means "merchant" in Japanese. Inspired by traditional Japanese merchant aprons, the brand features fun retro prints with Japanese calligraphy and illustrations. Simple, comfortable, and stylish, Buden Akindo makes the ordinary extraordinary with just the right touch of zen.
A Bathing Ape (Bape)
Urban and hip-hop fashion
A Bathing Ape was founded by Nigo (Tomoaki Nagao) in 1993. Besides clothing stores, A Bathing Ape also runs businesses like a beauty salon, a gallery coffee shop and a record store.
Born in Gunma Prefecture, Nigo initially worked as an editor for popeye magazine before opening his first store, called ‘Nowhere’ on April 1, 1993 in Harajuku, Tokyo.
The inspiration for his brand name ‘A Bathing Ape’ comes from the movie ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968) and a Japanese saying, ‘a bathing ape in lukewarm water,’ which is a reference to someone being spoiled.
Nigo’s fame –‘confirmed’ by an exclusive CNN interview on February 28, 2006– started when the lead singer of the Japanese band Cornelius started wearing Bape shirts on stage.
Although, A Bathing Ape is especially famous for its t-shirts, the company’s products include a wide range of fashion items from hoodies to footwear.
Baby, The Stars Shine Bright
Japanese:ベイビー、ザ スターズ シャイン ブライト
Lolita fashion brand Baby, The Stars Shine Bright (named ‘Baby’ by their fans) was started in 1988 by the couple Akinori and Fumiyo Isobe. The label’s name originates from the album ‘Baby the Stars Shine Bright’ by English band Everything But the Girl. Baby focuses on Sweet Lolita.
The brand has been getting a lot of attention from abroad and now also runs a store in Paris, France.
Japan fashion legend
Hiroko Koshino is one of Japan’s most famous designers. She has been designing for 50 years and has shown her work around the world. Hugely influential, Koshino occupies a central position in Japanese fashion. Her fashion empire includes perfume and cosmetics in addition to her clothing range.
She draws her inspiration from anything that catches her eye, from street fashion to ethnic culture. Her drive, energy and productivity are legendary and make it hard on her staff who often find it difficult to keep up.
Koshino was born in 1937 in Kishiwada, Osaka and attended Bunka Fukusou Gakuin. After she graduated in 1961, Koshino became a designer at Ginza Komatsu. She opened her haute couture atelier in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi in 1964.
In 1978, she became the first Japanese designer to show in Rome’s ALTAMODA. HIROKO KOSHINO International Co. Ltd. was established in 1982. At the same time she started a women’s ready-to-wear line and began showing at every Paris Collection through 1993. She stopped because she felt it was a waste of money.
In addition to being a prolific fashion designer –her shows are always enormous–, Koshino is also a very well-respected calligraphy artist and has had her work displayed in several museums.
Sophisticated modern womenswear fashion
Hiroko Ito’s HISUI label is a stalwart of Japanese fashion. The label has showcased its collections in both the Tokyo Collections and more recently Japan Fashion Week. Sophisticated and delicate, this womenswear brand often mixes casual wear with more elegant items and has a very feminine approach to design.
Especially popular with women who like their fashion forward-looking, Ito named her brand after the Japanese word for jade, which has an image of dominating presence and beauty. The designer expresses her hope that her clothes make people “discover something new about themselves, make them happy, and make them energetic.”
Ito was one of the first Japanese designers to delve into Japan’s now famous mix-and-match layered look by making a single garment look like a layered outfit. Her clever cutting is now her hallmark. She is very art-oriented and has collaborated with Japanese artists like Takeshi Matsuoka, Kida Oikawa and Hiro Tanaka.
Hiroko Ito (1967) graduated from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology in 1990, after which she worked for Comme des Garçons (1994 to 1998). She founded Hisui in 1999. In 2002, the export of Hisui products to France and Taiwan started.
A wonderful mix of ancient Japan and anime
Fashion designer Takuya Sawada (1967) started Takuya Angel in 1995, shortly after an earthquake devastated Kobe. It may have been this experience of the Kobe Quake that inspired Sawada to look for inspiration in Japan’s past. “Since the end of WW II only Western fashion has entered Japan. Japanese love to import things. They have a policy of having no policy.”
Sawada wanted to bring Japan back into fashion. “I wanted to create something new. I always thought it would be wonderful if everybody wore kimono. I figured it should be possible to combine clothes from the Jomon Era (10,000 BC ~ 300 AD) with those of modern times. There was nothing like that. I myself wanted to wear things like that.”
Takuya Angel is a wonderful mix of old and new, East and West, fake and real. Bright colors combined with somber black. Material like Cupra (Cuprammonium Rayon) combined with cotton twill. Sawada is not inhibited by what is right and what is wrong and what can and cannot be done. He is 100% self taught and as matter of policy leaves all pattern-making to someone else. “I draw the forms I imagine and let another person do the patterning. I just decide the shape and colors. I’m afraid that if I study patterning I may just think ‘this is impossible’.”
Many of Takuya Angel designs are inspired by clothes that Samurai wore in ancient times. Sawada deliberately uses the Japanese terms: ‘hitatare, haori, hakama, kyahan, geta’. It is quite a departure from the modern Japanese habit to give an English moniker to everything that must appear new. Even if there is a good Japanese word for it.
Sawada never makes these ancient clothes exactly as they were. He adapts the shape to the needs of modern life, and uses modern materials whenever possible: cupra, polyester, gabardine, velvet, fake fur. Often he incorporates parts of antique kimono in his clothes. This means that almost every item is different, because it is impossible to find more than one kimono of exactly the same design. His creations are also inspired by anime and manga.
It is a tiny brand, but Takuya Angel has an impact that goes far beyond its actual size. If you have seen Sawada’s clothes once you never forget them. The people who wear them, don’t just wear them, they worship them.