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Obscure Japanese Labels

chimera_states

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in my view, the best upscale casualwear of the last decade has come out of japan. many on this board are likely familiar with the japanese labels under the nepenthes umbrella (needles, south2 west 8), kapital, or possibly even more lesser-known brands such as auralee, kaptain sunshine, and mountain research.

however, there are a whole host of indie japanese labels that do not make it to western stockists and thus remain consistently under the radar. in addition, japan has an extremely robust secondhand market for clothing that is surprisingly accessible to westerners through the use of proxy services such as buyee and fromjapan.

so, i'd like to open up this thread as place for myself and others to share obscure japanese labels that may be of interest to styleforum users. i keep a running list of brands that i search for on yahoo! auctions jp, rakuten, and mecari. i'll begin with some of my favorites, but i would like to add more as time goes on...

amachi.
relatively recent japanese label with an emphasis on casual outerwear, cargos, and knits. really unique construction and textures. they put out variations of their “meeting jacket” (first pic) every season in different fabrics.
amachi._1.jpeg


amachi._3.jpeg

BED j.w. FORD
this brand is on the higher end of upscale casual, pushing luxury tier perhaps. however, it can still be found for reasonable prices on the secondhand market. it reminds me a bit of toga virilis - campy, bold patterns and designs, odd proportions. they also make killer leather riders jackets.
bed_j.w._ford_1.jpeg

bed_j.w._ford_2.jpeg

DIGAWEL / digawel 4
more established japanese indie label, been around for at least a decade. i believe its sublabel digawel 4 is now discontinued. frankenstein fabric mashups in the vein of junya/sacai/kolor, but at a much lower price point. set apart by its exclusive use of riri zippers for all of its garments. also offers strong accessories, collaboratng frequently with porter-yoshida & co. (their “l-purse” is a nice alternative to cdg zip-wallets)
digawel_1.jpeg

digawel_2.jpg

FACCIES
unisex label, only been around for a few years. leftfield americana vibes, a bit like visvim but more bold/off-kilter, and with funkier proportions. truly exceptional knits and cardigans. one to watch for sure.
faccies_1.jpeg


faccies_3.jpeg

MASU
another brand that goes beyond the category of upscale casualwear and into the realm of luxury. (pricing is frankly egregious unless you can find things secondhand, especially considering many items do not appear to be made in japan). that said, the offerings from this label are absurdly beautiful, owing to their unique and difficult-to-source fabrics and materials
masu_1.jpeg


masu_3.jpeg

meanswhile
sort of like an obscure version of white mountaineering. paneled tech fabrics and fleeces, heavy pocketing, piping, and taping. aggressive toggling between different regions of the garment. excessively utilitarian but in a fun, non-gauche way
meanswhile_1.jpeg

meanswhile_2.jpeg

norbit by Hiroshi Nazawa
led by the former designer of columbia black label, started several years ago but really only started gaining serious recognition in 2019-2020. a bit like mountain research and south2 west8, it’s fashion oriented to the outdoors, camping in particular. their garment-died, salt-shrunk nylon garments are the standouts for me personally.
norbit_1.jpeg

norbit_2.jpeg

SUGARHILL
queer grunge with western and miami-cuban influences. more wonky americana, especially the selvedge denim offerings. (fairly expensive)
sugarhill_2.jpeg

sugarhill_3.jpeg

Taiga Igari
a recent discovery for me, but a welcome one. only been around for a couple of seasons but already carving out a bizarre niche for itself: shaggy cardigans, matching top-and-bottom pajama sets, pencil trousers, with lots of micro-florals and clever detailing.
taiga_igari_1.jpg

taiga_igari_2.jpeg

WELLDER
another relatively recent brand, started in 2019. wide-fitting, boxy, unisex clothing. lots of variation across seasons so far, hard to put a finger on what they’re aiming for just yet, but seems promising nonetheless. i personally own a few pieces and can attest to the quality—i have the pants in the first pic and they are the nicest (and warmest) trousers in my collection
wellder_1.jpeg

wellder_2.jpeg
 

cb200

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No idea if it is obscure but CCP is interesting. Rave/nightclub to urban cycle commuter pipeline.
 

JChance

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This shirt is so cool!

1705976794205.jpeg
 

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