Friday, 19 February 2010

LFW: Showroom Next Door: The Inoue Brothers

The Inoue Brothers' knitwear mixes Japanese sensibility with Danish simplicity by way of Bolivian craftsmanship.

The time has come to excitedly turn the page on New York and begin the next chapter of the AW10 season. Ladies and gentlemen London Fashion Week is upon us. I eased myself in to proceedings with a visit to Showroom Next Door at 16 Hanover Square. The Touba Distribution curated showroom allowed me the opportunity to inspect and salivate over a few of my favourite brands and introduced me to a few new ones. I spent the best part of two hours fully immersing myself in the new collections of Mr. Hare, Casely-Hayford, H by Harris and Bruno Chaussingnand before being acquainted with Japanese denim specialist Sable Clutch and amazing knitwear by The Inoue Brothers. I had meant to only post once on the showroom but as I spent so much time with each of the brands I think it only proper to showcase each of the brands individually. So over the course of the next few days expect to see sneak peeks of the AW10 collections of Mr. Hare, Casely-Hayford and H by Harris but first up, let's look at...The Inoue Brothers.

Hand Knitted Chunky bubble scarfs which mix Alpaca with wool hang alongside super fine Alpaca pullovers.

The label was unsurprisingly founded by two brothers, Satoru and Kiyoshi Inou in 2004. The brothers are Japanese but were born and raised in Copenhagen and the label certainly reflects these roots, Japanese sensibility of craft and Scandinavian simplicity. By 2005 the brothers formed a unique collaboration with the crafts women of Bolivia to create hand knitted Alpaca garments through a network of traditional Bolivian knitters. Each piece is made by artisan mothers who knit from home. This collaborative project allows these professional mothers who are unable to leave for the city due to family commitments to continue to produce and exert their extraordinary skill.

The Andes Pullover. 100% Super fine South American Baby Alpaca in exciting colours and designs

Since launching The Inoue Brothers have focused on continually using original fibres from South America including, Pima Cotton, Andes Highland Wool, Alpaca and Baby-Alpaca. The different materials have different characteristics and functions. They all originated from the extremely high altitudes of the Andes and the climate of South America which gives them a common but unique quality. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Satoru this afternoon at the showroom and he hinted that the label will experiment with alternative fabrics for the coming seasons and even mentioned seaweed fabric blends with alpaca. However, for AW10 the collection mainly showcases 100% super fine Baby Alpaca but this soft luxurious has been used in a myriad of stunning designs. Satoru informed me that the Incas, who once ruled the natural environment of the alpaca spun the remarkable fibre exclusively for their divine royalty.

The Andes Pullover. 100% Super fine South American Baby Alpaca in exciting colours and designs.

The alpaca and especially the baby-alpaca has a unique cashmere-like softness and because the animals live in the harsh climate of the Andes is has developed a natural thermal characteristic which keeps and releases the body-heat according to the surrounding temperature. For AW10 a sophisticated blend of Mulberry Silk and Baby-alpaca. These garments will be of the highest quality and represent the most exclusive part of this impressive collection.

1 of a kind woven scarf made from 100% Super fine South American Baby Alpaca

With sustainability and social responsibility as their key values and starting point, The Inoue Brothers' knitted garments are the products of ordinary human decency, respect and of the finest craftsmanship produced with pride. Now that I have been acquainted with the brand I will certainly keep a keen eye on its development. For me, the labels cocktail of Japanese sensibility with Danish simplicity by way of Bolivian craftsmanship is something to toast.

Hand knitted chunky bubble cardigan scarf alongside a one of a kind woven ruana.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Nice to hear about a design forward brand with a conscious.


Matthew Spade said...

great stuff, look forward to it over the next week. this brand seems fun! really into the pattern on the cuffs of the jumper, the colours work well

Anonymous said...

hi steve, looks amazing. i am still in new york, when is the showroom next door showing until? thanks, helen


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