Best of Tokyo Fashion Week: Denim

We’re currently scouring the Paris, Milan, London and New York runways for a monster denim Classifications report to come out next week. But we’ve also had our denim eye on the latest Tokyo runways as they, too, are an inspiration for new denim silhouettes, treatments and finishes. In today’s blog post we bring you a round-up of our favorites:


After canceling Tokyo Fashion Week F/W 11 due to the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan last March, Mastermind Japan came back in full force for S/S 12. As usual the brand stuck mostly to their signature urban styling with an eclectic mix of sport, street and utilitarian denim outfits. Guy’s silhouettes referenced rugged militistic themes with tough denim truckers and cargo pants, while women’s outfits offered a tomboy approach to workwear styles. The runway show also celebrated the brand’s latest collaboration with A Bathing Ape, where denim pants featured the famous and notable BAPE camouflage design on reinforced knee panels. Chief designer Masaaki Honma achieved what he set out to do, in what is anticipated to be the last mastermind JAPAN collection ever.


The Ne-net runway was all country schoolar for S/S 12; rustic farmer-style patch-and-repair denim teamed with school ties and and button-down checked shirts. Silhouettes were oversized, cementing the school-kid look, dressed up in daddy’s togs. Oversized and long-line shorts with plaid turn-ups looked cute with collegiate teddybear sweats. Japanese brands are going nuts for the bandana right now, and both small and upsized versions were used to accessorize the looks.

Takahiro Kawaguchi by atlier.Ta.a.Na

Designer Takahiro Kawaguchi creates a denim-heavy collection every season, so he is an expert in the indigo cloth. This season, American prairie styling is updated with oversized proportions and quirky details. Kawaguchi’s focus is often on the dress and this season is no exception with long-line blazers, pieced and fabric blocked updates and raw edges keeping the Women’s denim item looking fresh. We particularly love the short-sleeved western jacket and the billowing floor-length culottes.


Japanese clothing label PHENOMENON debuted their S/S 12 collection at Tokyo Midtown as part of the Versus Tokyo event, curated by Yuichi Yoshii of The Contemporary Fix. The collection was summarized by the brand in one phrase; “Nippon – Kodomo – Mirai” which roughly translates to “Japan – Child – Future.” Designer Big-O delivered a collection inspired by schoolday memories with college/preppy/Ivy League elements, as well as some naval and biker influences. While incorporating a number of Western-influenced pieces including denim blazers and hooded sailor shirts, the collection remained uniquely Japanese with oversized pants and pleated denim skirts. PHENOMENON was initially founded as a streetwear label, however we can see the brand’s progression towards a more sophisticated appearance.

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