This story first appeared in the August 17, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The designer first began experimenting with heat-pressed pleating in 1988, and launched the brand Pleats Please Issey Miyake five years later. For two decades the technique was only used for women’s apparel until Miyake quietly introduced the men’s brand Homme Plissé Issey Miyake in November 2013.
While not exactly new to the market, it’s easy to see why Miyake’s signature pleated garments have become more relevant today. Lightweight, nonrestrictive, easy to wash and quick to dry, they are well-suited to busy urbanites. And while they were perhaps once seen only as casual weekend wear, increasingly relaxed office dress codes mean they are spotted during the week with growing frequency.
By combining innovative design and manufacturing techniques, Homme Plissé aims to provide men with a new kind of comfortable clothing that fits the needs of an active society. The pleats themselves — which are said to remain in the garment even after years of washing — add extra functionality to the already
easy styles, including making them more stretchy and packable.
“They have a convenience that allows them to adapt to a variety of life scenes,” a spokesman for the brand said of the pieces.
Homme Plissé targets men in their late 20s to mid-30s: artists and creatives who are at the cutting edge of a young generation; jetsetters active in their fields around the world, and plugged-in “nomad walkers” with a diverse sense of style. The brand is after men who, while conscious of trends, also appreciate uniqueness and know how to have fun with fashion.
For the current fall season, Homme Plissé incorporated bold stripes into tightly pleated shorts, hooded jackets and ankle-length pants. Wide bands of green, yellow and black or red, white and blue on loose silhouettes are vaguely reminiscent of athletes’ warm-up outfits.
But there are also more formal options, such as high-waisted pants held up with suspenders and simple zip-up jackets in classic black. A wide-leg jumpsuit worn over a button-down shirt could be a modern office staple, while long coats offer a more elegant alternative to nylon puffer jackets.
The spring collection offers a modern, sporty interpretation of traditional Japanese culture. Wood-block printing, which traces its roots to 1603, is used to update the patterns and colors.
Homme Plissé is priced in line with its target market. Some of the brand’s basic items that reappear from season to season include T-shirts, which in Japan go for between 12,000 and 16,000 yen (about $120 to $160 at current exchange) depending on the style, as well as vests (10,000 to 20,000 yen, or $100 to $200) and polo shirts (14,000 yen, or $140). Various styles of pants are priced between 19,000 and 22,000 yen — $190 and $220, respectively — while cardigans and lightweight blouson jackets go for around 23,000 to 24,000 yen, or $230 to $240. Some more intricate styles that appear for only a season can run up to around 60,000 yen, or $600 — still a relatively affordable price in designer fashion.
The collection is sold in eight stores in Japan, including department stores and Issey Miyake stores, three stores in Taiwan; about 20 in Europe including L’Eclaireur, Liberty and Selfridges; six in the U.S. including Opening Ceremony and Totokaelo, and two in Canada, Ssense in Montreal and Boboli in Vancouver.