Japan trending

18 Feb 2020 by Business Traveller India

Japan’s stance in world fashion and trends needs no introduction. From premium luxury labels to high-street fashion brands and unparalleled single malts, the country is known for setting the tone for the latest in varied genres. While the world eyes Japan for being a solid trendsetter, we at Business Traveller India too have always been fans of the Japanese aesthetic. We handpick a few labels that are resonant with its style prerogative.

In high-street fashion: Uniqlo

Most shopping sojourns in Japan begin with the country’s most in-demand casual fashion brand, Uniqlo. The name comes from the words, unique and clothing, and defines the character of the brand quite well.

Uniqlo prides itself in producing ‘lifewear’ clothing, a concept that involves simple, high-quality apparels inspired by the needs of everyday life. What sets the brand apart is its universal appeal which makes it suitable for all kinds of wardrobes. For instance, a Uniqlo basic T-shirt can be paired with denims for a casual outing or can be worn along with a crisp blazer for a corporate meet. Uniqlo provides ‘made for all’ clothing that can be worn whenever and wherever. The brand has become a cornerstone of high-street style wardrobe not just in Japan but worldwide.

A visit to the largest Uniqlo store in Ginza, Tokyo, which is spread over 12 floors, will give you a feel of why Uniqlo is synonymous with Japanese sensibilities. Here, you can stack up on their top-quality basics that feature fabric innovation and exceptional in-house design.

Its winter collection comprising coats, puffer jackets, thermals and quilted gilet wears, has a fan base among millennials who wish to stay in vogue without compromising on comfort.

Uniqlo’s international portfolio has expanded to the likes of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Singapore, Canada, China, Germany and most recently —  India. The mega-apparel retailer made waves in the Indian market with its first store in Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, and we couldn’t be happier about it. uniqlo.com

In premium fashion: Issey Miyake

Legendary designer Issey Miyake’s liking for art and nature can be seen across the brand’s line that features offbeat fabrics such as washi paper, horsehair and raffia; and quirky patterns.

Encompassing bold styles, Issey Miyake products are meant for fashion forward men and women who don’t mind an experimental lifestyle.

Miyake‘s vogue theories are followed not only in Japan but across the world today. ‘Clothes that bring joy and happiness to the wearer’ is a concept that the designer has practiced throughout his career. The brand’s tech-driven capabilities can be widely seen in its 132 5. Issey Miyake collection where innovative techniques consisting of folding and pressing 3D structures on clothes can be seen.

Their perfume range is also a hit and produced on the same feel as their clothing which is inspired heavily by nature. A case in point is the L’eau d’issey collection that is an ode to natural ingredients.

Further expanding its local presence, Issey Miyake has opened its latest outlet in Tokyo’s Shibuya. From a chic pair of sunglasses to elegant watches, fine fragrances and breezy garments, in our opinion, Issey Miyake is the one-stop destination for premium Japanese fashion. isseymiyake.com/en/

A shopping destination: Isetan MEN’S

Isetan, arguably Japan’s most famous departmental store (with a significant presence in international cities like Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur), is a non-negotiable element on this list.

In Japan and now worldwide, Isetan houses a range of super exclusive brands as well as limited edition items, capsule collections from international fashion brands and much more. A destination for the latest in Japan’s fashion story, Isetan is the forerunner of the country’s newest trends.

Additionally, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, you can check out Isetan Men’s, an entire building dedicated to high-end mens’ fashion. The store features the top range of premium suiting brands as well as casual wear. The selection of designers available in this section reads like a who’s who of the fashion industry. Designers such as Balenciaga, Acne Studios, Balmain Homme, Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo, Raf Simons and Rick Ownens are housed here.

At its pour homme offering, there is also an entire floor dedicated to premium footwear — both formal and informal. Isetan Men’s offers a range of grooming products and fragrances in its men’s beauty space as well. There is also a section for hobby items such as stationery and cameras, sports goods, cigars, jewellery and watches. isetan.com

In spirits: Suntory Whiskies

Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki. When a spirit’s connoisseur thinks of Japanese whiskies, they think of these names under Suntory. Since 1923, the creation and innovation of Japanese whisky was pioneered by the House of Suntory and continues to be perfected through its artisans today.

Located in a Kyoto suburb, the Yamazaki Distillery is deemed to be the birthplace of Japanese whisky. Its many-layered whiskies serve as the beginners’ course to Japanese whisky — light-bodied, clean, rich in fruit and floral quality with varying degrees of spice.

Suntory’s Hakushu whisky is defined by the intensely forested environment it is made under. The distillery is hidden under a mountain in central Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture. Hakushu is the only whisky in the Suntory profile that uses peated malt (the company imports it from Scotland). But because of the extremely low mineral content water flowing from Mount Kaikomagatake that’s used at the distillery, it’s relatively tamer.

Hibiki, which first hit shelves in 1989, was designed as a more palatable option to blended Scotch, meant to be sipped neat or on the rocks. It is intensely floral and fruity, features depth, citrus notes and tannic twists.

It’s interesting to note that the skyrocketing prices of Japanese whisky don’t seem to make a difference to many buyers and investors! suntory.com

In accessories: MUJI

Encompassing minimal sensibilities, Japan’s Muji defines panache in everyday life. Best known for its practical and sophisticated household products, Muji (the brand’s full name, Mujirushi Ryohin, literally means ‘non-branded quality goods’) is one of the most recognisable global home brands that was founded in the 1980s.

From opening its first stand-alone Muji store in the Aoyama district of Tokyo in 1983 to an international presence from Europe, Asia to North America, the brand has transformed the way people shop ‘home’ around the world.

Muji merchandise, dressed in subtle colours and aesthetics, are so durable that they generally last over a decade. They include stationery items such as pens, pencils, notepads, paper products, envelopes, luggage, apparel for men and women, a range of home basics including plates, bowls, cups and tatami mats; aromatherapy products like cleaning oils, everyday toiletries like mascara, lip balm, fluffy towels and tissues, and a furniture section. Lately, Muji has forayed into selling groceries as well.

No wonder, the brand has gathered eyeballs worldwide because of its simple vibe, minimalist packing and high-quality products. Another highlight is the usage of eco-friendly materials in their clothes and products. muji.com

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