Through the years, the Japanese fashion industry has produced some of the most revered designers in the world. There are the bold, eccentric designers such as Comme des Garçons' Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto who are known for their avant-garde tailoring. On the other end of the spectrum are the streetwear designers like Tomoaki Nagao who became popular for their edgy, practical designs. But beyond flamboyant haute couture and no-nonsense streetwear, Japan has so much more to offer. Ahead, the five Japanese designers who should also be on your radar.
As a fashion designer who believes in creating clothes that will outlast trends, Yuki Hashimoto designs clothing that consists of minimalistic pieces with a touch of rugged chic. At its core, most of his works are focused on combining functional versatility and unique stylish elements. With only just two collections under his belt, Hashimoto has already garnered fans from the world over. He's truly one to watch out for.
Fabulous and unexpected are the two words that best describe Ayano Ichige's designs for her label NON TOKYO. Combining contrasting elements is the brand's expertise. With her designs, there's a blurring of the lines between different aesthetics. For example, you would find ensembles that both have athleisure and ballet-inspired touches. Despite this unconventional approach, Ichige has made it work, and today it is her signature look.
Another up-and-coming designer that captured the attention of the fashionista crowd is Akiko Aoki. Although her designs are on the minimalistic side, you wouldn't call Aoki's pieces simple. In fact, at close inspection, you will find the intricacy of her work. From the cuts to the colour, they are definitely a work of art. No wonder she's got heads turning.
Playful femininity is Ryoko Mukasa's game. One glance at her designs and you would see that it's made with a particular customer in mind — the calm and collected fashion gal (think Alexa Chung). Just like the proverbial cool girl, her pieces for her brand STAIR (ステア), are unassuming yet draws a lot of attention. If you're the type of gal who loves to invest in elegant workwear pieces, you should definitely add her label to your go-to list.
Next, explore Japanese streetwear brands.