Ryohei Kawanishi is drawn to cultural melting pots.
Before the Japanese designer moved to Harlem, he spent seven years living in Dalston, a neighborhood in East London that was known for its Caribbean community. Kawanishi said the main premise for Landlord is to take what he sees on the streets and translate it into fashion. This is a strategy practiced by many, if not most, designers, but there’s something different about his interpretations, which err on the side of homage rather than appropriation.
Reggae formed the foundation for his spring collection, and sometimes the references were quite literal but still clever. One sweater read “Bob” — as in Bob Marley — and other oversize knits were covered with “Jerk Chicken” and marijuana leaves. Then there was the Rastafarian-influenced color palette of red, green and yellow, which looked particularly fresh on color-blocked pants and jackets made from nylon.
Kawanishi said visual references from street markets also crept into the collection. This was evident with the camo prints placed to obscure a faux Burberry plaid along with the leather sneakers and sandals worn without socks. Other highlights included a satin parka, a matte leather jacket and the cuffed, baggy denim.
Kawanishi, who is now on his fourth collection, has a knack for artfully reflecting the world around him in a way that’s current — or trendy — but still original.
See More From the Men’s 2018 Collections:
Perry Ellis Men’s Spring 2018: The company injected performance features into its tailored clothing uniform and then layered on fashion.
Hecho Men’s Spring 2018: The spring collection expanded on singular, identifiable staples in new, still breathable, fabrics.
Boss Men’s Spring 2018: Designer Ingo Wilts used a variety of nautical references in the line.
Nick Graham Men’s Spring 2018: The designer was inspired by the ocean and Atlantis.
Descendant of Thieves Men’s Spring 2018: The designer toyed with the aesthetic of deviant Mods of the Sixties, balancing an energetic collection of colorful prints with relaxed silhouettes.