Japanese fashion labels that the Fab Five from Netflix’s Queer Eye should visit in their upcoming series
News alert: Netflix’s Queer Eye is heading to Japan in an upcoming short series, and they'll be giving four people the fairy godmother transformation they’re famous for. This got us wondering: which Japanese fashion labels would the Fab Five (made up of Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamon Brown, Bobby Berk, and Jonathan Van Ness) be featuring on their show? While we're longtime fans of Uniqlo and Muji, there's plenty more brands to add to your shopping list on your next visit to the Land of the Rising Sun. Here are our top picks of alternative brands to shop.
The history: Positioned primarily as a lifestyle label, Beams is a one-stop shop for men's and women's fashion, as well as homeware and furniture.
Why they should be featured: Beyond their own label, Beams is also known for their collaborations with brands like McDonald’s, Fred Perry, and Levi’s.
Where you can find it: Beams has stores all over Japan, and they've got international appeal too, if their 12 stores worldwide are any indication. You'll be able to find them in cities like Taipei, Beijing, and Bangkok, and they even have a pop-up at Colony Clothing here in Singapore.
This history: Founded by self-taught Japanese designer Yusuke Yatsuhashi in 2010, Kuro takes a minimalistic approach to design, and is known for craftsmanship and premium fabrics.
Why they should be featured: Kuro, which means black in Japanese, has made a name as the purveyor of premium, Japanese-made denim. Originally a menswear-focused label, they have since expanded their offerings to include womenswear and non-denim creations.
Where you can find it: The Japanese label has four stores around Japan (Shibuya and Ginza in Tokyo, and Osaka) and can be found at the Bread & Butter store in Singapore.
This history: Founder Maiko “Mame” Kurogouchi trained at the Bunka Fashion College in Japan (alumnus include Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe) and worked at Issey Miyake for three years before founding her namesake label in 2010.
Why they should be featured: Besides her pedigreed background, Kurogouchi’s masterful blend of traditional craft and Japanese textiles with modern fashion techniques have garnered her international attention, with some even praising her as the “next Sacai”.
Where you can find it: Mame Kurogouchi has a whole list of stockists within Japan, and many international retailers stock her products too, including MatchesFashion.com, Rare Market, and Opening Ceremony. Closer to home, the brand is stocked at Surrender.
This history: Designer Hiromichi Ochiai, also a graduate of Bunka Fashion College, created Facetasm in 2007 as a way to channel his take on the free-spirited nature of Japanese streetwear.
Why they should be featured: For those who love bold colours and loud prints, Facetasm will not disappoint. His urban, streetwear-inspired pieces are unconventional and genderless.
Where you can find it: Facetasm has one standalone store at Omotesando in Tokyo, and various stockists located around Japan. Farfetch and Selfridges are among the e-tailers that ship to Singapore.
This history: The outdoor-focused casualwear label by Japanese designer Eiichiro Homma was started in 2003.
Why they should be featured: Nanamica pieces are renowned for their technical characteristics, such as the incorporation of waterproof Gore-Tex, which lends functionality and practicality to fashion. Homma is also responsible for The North Face’s coveted Japanese subline, The North Face Purple Label, that has been lauded for its streetwear sensibilities.
Where you can find it: Nanamica has four stores in Japan, two in Shibuya, and the others in Kobe and Fukuoka. They are also stocked internationally with Supplies & Co. in Mandarin Gallery being the sole local stockist.