Ultimate mark of the Asian streetwear movement, the Japanese T-shirt stands out for its originality and its artistic dimension. It's a streetwear must-have!
How did Japanese streetwear T-shirts become so popular? We reveal you the secret of the rise of the Japanese urban fashion as we know it today
Located at the crossroads of the futuristic art movement and casual everyday style, streetwear is designed to give free rein to your imagination without worrying about societal norms. Defying the norms of the fashion industry, this trend originating in the United States has quickly become known all over the world
In Japan, the magic seed has found a favorable environment to grow and develop under a brand new shell. Rooted in the nooks and crannies of Tokyo, Japanese streetwear fuses the values of urban fashion with those of its host country.
How did the Japanese T-shirt soak up Japanese culture to have such a clean aesthetic? Besides the fact that it is overflowing with cult references, it is the delicate balance between two fundamentally different, but imperiously complementary, worlds that makes the Japanese T-shirt a streetwear must-have!
To better understand this variety of urban style, we trace the history of streetwear in Japan. We let you discover the origins and the evolution of the style that will mark a whole era
What better place to promote a rebellious style of dress than a neighborhood of young rebels from the 90's, Harajuku. It is here that western streetwear is welcomed with open arms and adapted for the first time to Japanese culture.
Urahara, or urza-Harajuku, which literally means the hidden Harajuku, was the initial nest of Japanese streetwear.
This city located between Harajuku and Aoyama, practically unknown to foreigners, was home to the first urban fashion stores in the land of the rising sun. Clandestine, hidden and almost invisible, we passed by them without even realizing it! That's only if you didn't know where to look exactly.
As you can imagine, to become an essential streetwear trend, a fanbase was created very quickly! You probably won't believe it, but it all happened just by word of mouth.
Streetwear became the ultimate way to assert its independence. Attracting a youth against a society still too attached to its traditions, what better than a Japanese streetwear T-shirt to show its originality
Away from the big cities, the first streetwear stores were rare. Always strongly inspired by the great American brands and subcultures of the time, notably Stüssy and Supreme, their articles were a hit.
One of these little places, a little corner that was literally called "Nowhere" will change everything! It didn't look like much, but that's where the essence of Japanese streetwear came from.
From humble beginnings, two employees managed to break into the fashion industry. You can probably guess who they are! Indeed, it is the managers of the small "Nowhere", Jonio Takahashi and Tomoaki Nagao aka Nigo who shaped the modern urban fashion.
They worked hard, but it paid off, because it was a hit in their environment. A part of their store was specially dedicated to printed Japanese T-shirts: that's to say that their importance was obvious from the start.
Why are we going on about this little Japanese streetwear store? Simply because it is the birthplace of one of the most emblematic brands of the current urban movement, A Bathing Ape, or BAPE, with an intergalactic reputation.
And this is far from being an isolated case! In the space of a few years, brands have multiplied like mushrooms.
NEIGHBORHOOD, WTAPS, BOUNTY HUNTER and many others were born. With innovation as a guiding principle, each one brings original concepts that continue to enrich the new trend.
All the brands that existed at the beginning of this wave are today the references of Japanese streetwear. Of course, this was just the beginning!
Anti-conformist, modernist and revolutionary, Japanese streetwear embodies all the aspirations of a Japan that wants to impose itself on the international scene.
Coinciding with the timid beginnings of the computer age, we now know that these are two fields where the Japanese have marked their superiority. Whether in technology or street style, they never cease to fascinate the rest of the globe.
Indeed, Japanese streetwear is the next level of an initially American trend. Although it is imported, you can try to compare any wardrobe of the past 5 or 10 years, and you will draw the same conclusion: urban trends have evolved a lot!
Japanese style focuses more on elegance than on innovation, it values the aesthetic dimension more than any other parameter. As a real streetwear lover, you should know that this trend was born from a need for change
Indeed, the Japanese touch was gradually brought to rock, hip-hop and underground trends. This avant-garde bubble has come a long way to offer you the streetwear nuggets we all know so well today.
It's not for nothing that this same Japanese signature has turned the Game upside down, especially with revolutionary Japanese T-shirts.
If you take the time to contemplate the history of Japanese fashion, you will immediately understand why it inspires the whole world. In this case, we think of designers like Yohji Yamamoto or Issey Miyake who never stop revolutionizing the fashion scene.
Although Japanese streetwear has come a long way, today it has become a real culture. Born out of the need for change in a society rooted in the past, it perfectly embodies the anti-conformist urban style!
It's amazing how an imported style has intertwined with a thousand-year-old culture to give the most striking artistic movement. Following this evolution is very interesting, especially as we see more subcultures emerging.
With so many followers around the world, Nippon streetwear has many more years to go. You can be sure of that
Japan has long been one of the most influential countries in the global fashion industry. The international streetwear scene shines with a thousand stars thanks to the countless Japanese brands that enrich it.
Renowned designers have greatly contributed to the diversity of the brands and their strong artistic value. This artistic movement continues to evolve and goes beyond the territory where it was born.
Indeed, Japanese streetwear is at its best and there is no lack of choice!
What are the brands behind the Japanese streetwear movements? We know you were waiting for this! So, here is the selection of the 6 biggest Japanese streetwear brands that have marked the trend so far
Founded in 1993 by Tomoaki Nagao, who we all know as Nigo, they are the variable pioneers of urban style. We can say that they initiated the Japanese streetwear, and they keep the top of their performance to this day.
Known for their bold camouflage and aesthetic designs, they are the best in high-end Japanese streetwear. There's a reason they're the most Googled Japanese brand.
We know you like little anecdotes, so do you know the meaning of the name of this brand? Nigo says that it is a reference to the mythical movie of the 60's "The Planet of the Signs"..
What it doesn't say, however, is that it's also a bad joke in reference to a Japanese expression "a sign that is earned in lukewarm water". If you are a culture lover, you already know that hot springs are a luxury in Japan. Just like the clothes and streetwear T-shirts of this brand are a luxury for young people !
Yes, you understood it, BAPE is all about luxury. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why this Japanese brand is the favorite of singer Pharrell Williams.
If you've already been told that BAPE belongs to Pharrell Williams, we'll stop you there, it's completely false. On the other hand, he has the merit to have introduced it in the States, and consequently in Europe !
Although its name is made in France, this brand is 100% Japanese. Founded in 1969 by Rei Kawakubo, COMME des GARÇONS, or CdG for those who know it well, took its first steps in Japan.
Unveiled for the first time in 1981, in Paris, Kawakubo's collections were not a great success. Very criticized by the French, because considered too avant-garde. And not to lie to you, he does not go with a soft hand!
It is sure that with pronounced tones of black, fabrics rather old-fashioned and unfinished seams intentionally, the so-called traditional fashion does not find its bearings.
COMME des GARÇONS is a Japanese streetwear brand that wants to make things happen! The best proof is a recent collaboration of CdG with Louis Vuitton, where she unveiled a collection of pierced bags!
Yes, you read that right, pierced with holes on all sides. You might be wondering what the point of a pierced bag is! Well, that's what Kawakubo is all about and what COMME des GARÇONS is all about: putting no limits on fashion.
This non-conformism combined with CdG's high-end touch makes for Japanese T-shirts that no other brand can, or will, create
UNDERCOVER is a rather particular brand of Japanese streetwear. It attracts, it fascinates and above all it gives a unique feeling when you wear its Japanese T-shirts. You wonder why? Because it was born in 1990 from the genius of the great Jun Takahashi, under the watchful eye of Nigo (yes, he is the creator of BAPE).
It was the first streetwear brand to fully embrace the punk rock counterculture. Takahashi defines it as "anti-social" and "in your face", just like his favorite band, the Sex Pistols. That doesn't even surprise us!
Quickly becoming the leader of streetwear in Japan, urban fashion lovers and collectors are snatching UNDERCOVER's creations!
Some even call it the epitome of streetwear "PUNK". This explains why many other brands have tried to replicate the rebellious and insurgent style that permeates all UNDERCOVER collections..
VISVIM is a slightly more recent Japanese clothing brand. Just after leaving his job as a designer at Burton Snowboards, Hiroki Nakamura founded it in the 2000s.
This is fortunate for us, as it has allowed him to create the most iconic brand of contemporary Japanese streetwear!
Steeped in a culture rich in centuries of tradition and inspired by his experience in his former job, Nakamura transcends the barriers of fashion. He blends, in perfect balance, natural manufacturing techniques with more modern conjunctures to give birth to visvim: the ultimate expression of classic clothing!
True, it's still based in Tokyo, but visvim has stores all over the world. With such a spectacular style, it's not even surprising to see celebrities like Kanye West or Drake wearing visvim Japanese T-shirts.
This streetwear brand shouldn't even be introduced. Both authentic and exceptional, NEIGHBORHOOD is the pinnacle of old-school Japanese streetwear. !
In the mid-80s, the motorcycle subculture was at its peak in Japan. Shinsuke "Shin" Takizawa, immersed in this biker culture, became a great motorcycle enthusiast.
It is from this adoration that NEIGHBORHOOD was born, the emblem of motorcycle streetwear!
Making its grand entrance on the streetwear scene in the 90s, the essence of this brand comes from Takizawa's flame. He created clothes with a classic American style based on leathers, or Japanese T-shirts with a unique biker gang touch.
Even today, the essence of the rebellious and fierce can be found in all NEIGHBORHOOD collections. Their famous "Savage" collection defines them best: classic, authentic and untamable.
In the category of bedtime stories, we have the famous Head Porter brand which has undergone a surprising transition. From a luggage brand to a streetwear subsidiary!
What was a simple business strategy has become a success in fashion wear.
Targeting a younger audience and rethinking corporate priorities is a surprising example of a marketing strategy that works. Kaban's decision to refocus their interests on urban fashion through their Head Porter branch has earned them a ready-made place in Japanese streetwear.
They've been churning out collection after collection, and organizing legendary collaborations with pioneering urban fashion brands. Why stop at such a great momentum?
Well, there's no reason why not. That's why Head Porter is again revisited and gives birth to Ramidus, a new streetwear store especially dedicated to the new generation
No one could question the uniqueness of Japanese T-shirts. But, for an inexperienced eye, it is sometimes difficult to determine this originality.
Have you fallen under the spell of Asian streetwear tops? No wonder :
At once casual, individual and uninhibited, the Japanese T-shirt is the essence of Asian culture. Instead of being stuck in the rules of streetwear fashion, it breaks away from them to let you decide your look!
Now you can see why Japanese T-shirts, unlike other Asian streetwear, are so unique.
Putting together streetwear is an art, and mastering Japanese urban fashion is a challenge. Any lover of Asian culture has to be worthy of their heritage, and this goes first and foremost through the choice of the top.
And who says top, says Japanese T-shirt, but not just any T-shirt! Hence the first tip to start your Nippon style journey: opt for the iconic Japanese fashion brands.
You're spoilt for choice with the 6 must-have Japanese urban fashion brands we've already introduced to you. But, you know we like to find you the best of streetwear. Our collection of Japanese T-shirts will certainly make your head spin
We got a little lost here, but it's okay, we do it for your complete satisfaction !
So, how to best wear Japanese streetwear? Here are our 4 tips for a perfect Japanese streetwear style :
You have to be creative to find what goes best with your Japanese T-shirt. There are no taboos: try, reuse and switch between different streetwear items to find your unique look.
No matter what advice we give you, only you can find the perfect combination of your streetwear style with your Japanese T-shirt. !
We couldn't leave you without a selection of the best Japanese T-shirts ever! Concocted especially for you, the streetwear and Japanese culture lover, our collection is the perfect combination.
We have to admit that even if this collection is just unique, we also have our little favorites. Maybe this will help you to find the right Japanese T-shirt for you :
Our collection of Japanese T-shirts is made for you to assert your streetwear style seasoned with Japanese culture. It's up to you to dare to be different!
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