Overcoat designer Ryuhei Oomaru has a solid pedigree — he worked for Comme des Garçons in Tokyo before relocating to New York City in 2007, where he designed Phi, the women’s label launched by Michael Dell’s wife Susan, before becoming head tailor for Donna Karan. He launched Overcoat in 2015 as a side project to his other business, Oomaru Seisakusho 2, a product development studio that has quietly become the go-to spot for more than 15 New York-based luxury labels.
Although Oomaru is reluctant to name the clients for Oomaru Seisakusho 2, he’s happy to show off Overcoat, his genderless collection that offers a distinct structural take on apparel that is rooted in his skills in patternmaking. Although Overcoat started out as a collection of conceptual outerwear that he created in his Chinatown workshop, it has since expanded into a larger assortment that encompasses shorts, jackets and pants.
His spring collection, Summer Tailoring, is the perfect showcase of Oomaru’s skills — look closely at a dolman sleeve coat, for example, and the large tuck at the center of the back expands and contracts depending on the shoulder width and slope of the wearer.
The seamless pattern connects the front, back and sleeve, with a zipper at the center front that makes for a more casual look.
“That’s important to a patternmaker and I’m a patternmaker,” he said with a smile.
Oomaru used similar construction techniques for his dolman sleeve hoodie, a packable item where the front and sleeve of the garment are connected to create a cape-like drape.
This cape shoulder was first introduced last year by creating a pattern from one rectangular piece — Overcoat offers it in a short-sleeve version for spring.
Other standout pieces in the collection include a double-breasted jacket where the back armhole is specially created to provide extra room. The piece is unlined but constructed in such a way that it has the feel of a cardigan.
Oomaru paired the jacket with wide-leg and high-waisted trousers with no side seams but only an inseam to hold the garment in place. Tailored shorts are also offered for spring with a slightly elasticized waistband for a relaxed but clean cut aesthetic.
The designer described the suit as “floppy and sloppy,” but it was anything but sloppy — instead, it offered a modern, sophisticated take on a tailored leisure suit that was also comfortable to wear.
“I like to subtract and eliminate as much as possible,” he said.
Although construction is Oomaru’s forte, fabrics are also key to the collection. For spring, he selected piece goods that provide utility and comfort such as a French linen in a high-density weave; crisp turpan cotton, and tightly twisted rayon tricotine yarn with diagonal rows of twill. He also created lightweight shirts from tropical wool that not only had a luxurious drape but are also machine washable.
The color palette ranged from neutrals such as black, white, gray and beige interspersed with neons, many in a gradation pattern, from a collaboration with Peter Miles Studio.
Miles, best known for his art direction, created a handmade anti-digital print for Overcoat’s spring collection that Oomaru used in drawstring pants, shorts and a flowy hooded anorak.
With the exception of the tailored jacket and trousers, the collection didn’t look especially dressy, but that was intentional, according to Oomaru. His intent was to “show how far you can push tailoring” by focusing instead on looser shapes that still used the same construction techniques as more formal pieces. And because they’re intended to be worn in warm weather, the items have a “softness and lightness that translate well for summer.”
While tailored clothing is often associated with power suits, Oomaru doesn’t quite see it that way. “I’m not very outgoing,” he said, “but I rely on my clothes to speak for me. They’re a subtle extension of myself.”