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Menswear issue 12/09/2014

Three independent Japanese labels—Neighborhood, Visvim, and White Mountaineering—are making a strong impression on aficionados of street wear.


The White Mountaineering label is steeped in the outdoors. Designer Yosuke Aizawa uses Gore-Tex in his rugged vests and pants, juxtaposing the material with vibrant prints. “I had the strong feeling that if I were to make my own brand, I would restrict it to the genre I loved most, and thought to include the word ‘mountain’ in the brand name as a declaration of intention,” says Aizawa, who got his training while working at Comme des Garçons under Junya Watanabe—a job he quit on a whim, when he was struck with the desire to go out on his own.

NEXT: East Meets West >>

This story first appeared in the December 9, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


Visvim, launched in 2000, has found inspiration for its latest collection in the denim shirt worn by Paul Newman in the 1967 western Cool Hand Luke. But a move toward a melding of West and East is apparent in its Hawaiian-style shirts and the simple short-sleeve bu?on-down with a hand-painted fish on the front. “One of the things I was inspired by this season was a Model A Ford pick-up truck from the 1930s,” says Visvim designer Hiroki Nakamura. “It was beautiful, with the patina and character the truck had developed over the last 80 years. I strive to make product that has similar character; a type of product that somebody can look back on and perhaps feel what I felt when I discovered the truck.”

NEXT: Moto-Chic >>


Neighborhood made its name in the ’90s with graphic T-shirts (skulls, bones, eagle heads, etc.). Its founder, Shinsuke Takizawa, spends his time away from men’s wear playing bass guitar in a band and customizing old cars and motorcycles, and his hobbies are reflected in much of the label’s swaggering, denim-heavy collections.


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