Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Versus Tokyo

Given the disorientating pace of the fashion machine that sees me typing this in my Berns hotel room in the midst of Stockholm Fashion Week, Pitti Uomo 81 feels like an absolute age ago. Despite the fast forwarding of a few weeks, I've still got so much to write and follow up on. First up, one of the real highlights of the tradeshow, Versus Tokyo.

The Lyceum on the Fortezza grounds housed around twenty Japanese brands and designers, selected by The Contemporary Fix's very own Yuichi Yoshii, that brought the very best of Japanese menswear design to Florence. Now, regular readers should recall that during my time in Tokyo last Spring, as I enthusiastically pinballed my away across the sprawling city and discovered a myriad of concept spaces both large and small, The Contemporary Fix left the biggest impression. The two floored space takes a gallery approach, installing limited-time exhibitions that spotlight individual brands. The ground level is an inviting cafe and bar that rewards and rejuvenates customers with a welcome respite from consumerism whilst the second is dedicated to offering a selection of the finest Japanese labels. During my visit I was afforded the opportunity to examine a vast offering from Phenomenon, Visvim, Bedwin and The Heartbreakers, Facetasm and SASQUATCHfabrix to name but a few. Back in October, Yoshii's Versus Tokyo closed Tokyo Fashion Week with a series of shows, installations, sales of event-exclusive items and a plethora of surprises. For Pitti, he brought the same magic to an unfamiliar foreign  market in Florence. As I excitedly bounced from rail to rail and room to room I was almost bewildered by the depth of Japanese design creativity on show. So, it quite helpful for me now to refresh my aching mind with a look over my shots...

The polka dot camo gang.... Swagger continue to evolve their Japanese streetwear aesthetic by collaborating with The Contemporary Fix to create a capsule collection that does anything but fade in to the background.

Phenomenon is arguably the driving force behind the rise of Tokyo's fashion scene. Established in 2004 by Takeshi Osumi (or BIG-O to his friends) as the more hi end branch and upscale brother of Swagger, Phenomenon has always been something of a cult streetwear brand that purports to fuse elements of American hip hop with that of the most enviable Japanese men's street style. Here they present their reimagined MA-1 bomber jacket in a zipped rainbow.

Fellow local label Discovered was founded in 2001 by Tatsuya Kimura and Sanae Yoshida. The pair like little else than juxtaposing contradictory themes and here they offered a variety of texture rich knits with a layered silhouette.

Facetasm is a young Japanese fashion brand, but one that’s made a big impact since it was launched by designer Hiromichi Ochiai in 2007. Before launching his own label, Ochiai worked with Comme Des Garcons, Undercover, and other highly respected Japanese fashion brands. If you’re interested in up-and-coming Japanese streetwear brands, this is definitely one to watch. Each collection is a heady, eclectic mix of inspirations and influences. The item that really sums up the label's design aesthetic is the reimagined Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper adorning varsity jackets.

Wandering around the Versus Tokyo space it was impossible not to be drawn to atleast one of the rails. There's a real sense of family amongst the designers' and with The Contemporary Fix's Yuichi Yoshii guiding them, I'm sure that they will see great success in markets outside of their own.


Unknown said...


George G said...

That's strange that they're still showing those Facetasm neck warmers in both old and new prints. The blue bandana print and leopard print versions are from 2010, while the 'Christmas Lights' are from 2011. I didn't think they'd revisit old fabrics.

I have the blue bandanna puffer neck warmer myself. :)

Heroika Magazine said...

These printed military are original. Very interesting report of this trade ( again ).


Style Salvage Steve said...

Pedro and Younglington: Thanks!
George G: Well spotted!! I think the designers that had the larger spaces (and Facetasm's was huuuuge) showed highlights from previous seasons as well. To be honest the entire concept was focussed on introducing the brands to foreign markets and I think it worked extremely well.


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