The Future of Asian Tailoring

The Future of Asian Tailoring
Teo van den Broeke

It was in the early 1980s that Far Eastern fashion design first grabbed international attention. Rei Kawakubo’s super-innovative, deconstructed work at Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake’s floaty pleated pieces and Yohji Yamamoto’s immaculately tailored suits and separates provided an off-kilter (not to mention welcome) counterpoint to the hard-edged luxury of the major French and Italian brands.

It was at the same time that another key Japanese brand was quietly laying the groundwork to establish itself as one of the country’s foremost tailoring labels. Founded in 1978 by designer and entrepreneur Hiroyuki Sasaki, Tomorrowland is a brand that combines a distinctive Japanese approach to fabric and cut – the silhouette is modern and roomy, while the fabrics are innovative and unexpected (expect plenty of silk mixes and super-light cashmeres) – with a classically tailored aesthetic. There’s an approachable simplicity to the clothes; they’re wearable and elegant rather than challenging and overtly avant garde.

Sasaki’s sartorial education started with the classic preppy American style. The Japanese designer wore little else when he founded his brand nearly four decades ago. The clean-cut, gentlemanly approach to menswear – all worn-in denim pieces, preppy suits and button-down Oxford shirts – resonates in Sasaki’s output today. Slim, single-breasted jackets feature contemporary deconstructed shoulders and a truncated cut, while traditionally Western fabrics such as checks and tweeds dominate. It’s a beguiling contrast.

Though Tomorrowland is leading the charge in the Far Eastern tailoring revolution – this season’s immaculately crafted paneled shirts, colour-block sweaters and chunky cardigan-esque blazers are desirable and wearable – there are plenty of other menswear brands which are also worthy of note. Japanese label Kolor was founded in 2004 by Junichi Abe and is now known for producing immaculately crafted suits and separates with a subtle twist (think perfectly cropped trousers and unexpected linings). sacai, founded by Chitose Abe, a protégé of Junya Watanabe, is known for its immaculately tailored sportswear cut from tactile fabrics. Combining unfussy functionality (another Japanese specialty) with elegant form, Tomorrowland’s suits are up there with those produced in the hills of Naples or the hallowed basements of Savile Row – and thanks to the contemporary cut, they’re a good option for those with slighter, dare we say younger, frames.

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2015-08-26 00:12:00.0