Japan is known for cultivating some of the most cutting-edge brands in fashion, just take a look at the innovative creations from Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Jun Takahashi. Such designers and their peers are also pivoted by a penchant for nostalgia. Perusing the collections of Japanese streetwear brands is like taking a stroll down a very American memory lane; wartime influences are apparent in their many military silhouettes, whereas the more preppy designs seem as though they came straight out of an Ivy League catalog. Facetasm, WACKO MARIA and BEDWIN & THE HEARTBREAKERS are just three streetwear brands among many that reference Americana, albeit in extremely divergent ways.
Facetasm’s avant-garde punk sensibilities offer a unique counterpoint to the functional athletic wear that the brand attempts to tackle this season. The Tokyo-based label, founded in 2007 by Bunka Fashion College alum Hiromichi Ochiai, has a proclivity for producing off-kilter designs that deconstruct traditional silhouettes and play with their proportions. For the spring/summer season, Facetasm lends its punk DIY flair to classic American pieces. A baseball tee is deconstructed with patches, featuring a single raglan shoulder patch and a partly obscured Gothic style number – an ode to the brand’s punk style. A bomber jacket is reconfigured with multiple zippers, an oversized fit and vibrant orange lining. The brand’s standout piece takes America’s staple fabric of denim and transplants it onto a sweatshirt. With patches of denim in multiple shades of indigo, this garment is like America on overdrive.
Facetasm is not the only brand to gravitate towards American music culture. WACKO MARIA blends rock ‘n roll motifs with distinctly American military silhouettes, lending its garments a glamorous aesthetic. Founded by J-League football teammates Nobuhiro Mori and Keiji Ishizuka, the brand scores points for its outerwear this season, which adorns typically austere military silhouettes with large-scale designs referencing American music and Japanese history. The Vietnam jacket, a common staple during the midcentury war, is emblazoned with an embroidered tiger of a man riding its back, as well as quotes in adoration of rock culture. WACKO MARIA also reinterprets the Souvenir jacket, a richly embroidered variation of the bomber jacket that American soldiers used to take home from Japan in commemoration of World War II. Wacko Maria’s iteration is reversible, with a geisha printed on one side and a tiger on the other, transplanting Oriental tropes onto American designs.
On the other end of the spectrum, BEDWIN & THE HEARTBREAKERS concentrates its attention on refining rather than revolutionizing American classics. The brand hones its focus specifically on American prep and workwear styles, crafting well-tailored oxford shirts, slim-cut chinos and cozy cardigans. Continuing with its workwear leanings, BEDWIN has released standout denim pieces this season. Working in collaboration with Japanese raw denim stalwart Canton, the brand designed a signature denim jacket crafted from organic cotton and featuring distressed detailing, evoking that worn-in American West feel.