Tokyo is one of the world’s fashion capitals, and Japanese fashion brands have been dictating the trends in both high-end and street fashion for decades. Men’s fashion is not an exception, quite the contrary – a lot of the current trends you’ve been seeing in stores and on the streets are inspired by Japanese fashion. And you know what – you don’t have to travel all the way to Japan to experiment with their fashion, as most of the big Japanese brands do have stores overseas, and some Western ones take inspiration from the former when creating their new collections. Without further ado, here are some Japanese fashion trends for men you shouldn’t miss out on in 2018.
1. Souvenir jackets
Souvenir jackets have been trending for at least a couple of seasons now. Every brand from industry giants like Gucci down to fast-fashion retailers like H&M have hopped on this trend, producing embroidered bomber jackets with Japanese, or, rather, oriental-inspired designs. These jackets are known as sukajan in Japan, and their history started back in the 50s, during the American occupation. American soldiers would buy the jackets as souvenirs of their time spent in Japan and would request local artisans to embroider various Japonesque designs on them – from geisha and samurai to Mt. Fuji and sakura trees. Nowadays, they are back in style, with tons of celebrities rocking them both on stage and on the street.
Japanese fashion is mainly known for being loud and in-your-face obnoxious in a number of ways. However, this year, we’re seeing a return of the normcore trend even on the streets of Tokyo. Track pants, flannels, plain tops, sneakers are making a comeback, and while you can scavenge through your dad’s vintage clothes, lots of brands have hopped on the normcore train too. You can find normie fashion with a twist at most streetwear brands, and some higher-end ones (Vetements, for instance.) Be careful when rocking this trend though, as there is a very thin line between hip, street normcore, and dad figure stuck in the 00s. Better to not scavenge through your old man’s clothes, in the end.
3. Oversized padded jackets
Although the cold season is already over, the oversized padded jacket trend is here to stay for at least another fall-winter season. Although Japanese winters are not that cold, Tokyo streets have seen an increased number of oversized outwear this year. Playing with volume, cuts, and proportions, the new padded jackets are a great statement piece you should definitely invest in if you want to look sleek all your ’round. Black is a classic, but don’t stray away from bold colors or prints either. The best part about oversized padded jackets is that every single brand we know of has produced at least one, so there’s a lot to choose from, both in terms of color, size, shape, and, of course, price range.
4. Orange and red
Bold colors like orange and red are making a comeback as well, especially in hip-hop inspired streetwear. Paired with side stripes, sleeve details, or brand logos, red or orange pieces are a great statement piece for the upcoming spring-summer season. If you’re not that into plain pieces, opt for something with orange accents – you can find plenty of those at streetwear brands like BAPE or Supreme, or even high-end labels like Dior and Givenchy. Or, if you want to go all out, opt for a bomber or down jacket in any of those colors – you’re sure to make a statement!
5. Check suits
If you’re more into the subtle and classy look, 2018 is the year to dress it up. But only if it’s a checked suit or blazer, preferably a bit oversized. Again, thrifted pieces might work great if you’re planning to hop on this trend, as new pieces might cost a small fortune. However, if you’re ready to splurge, at least it’s more or less a timeless piece that will definitely come back in style at some point. Japanese street fashion magazines have noticed men on the street wearing full checked suits, or working them into edgier fashions for a unique look.
6. All black everything
Japanese fashion brands know you can’t go wrong with all black everything. This season, the all-black look is still in, and you might want to look at brands like Yohji Yamamoto to get a general idea. Oversized pieces, contrasting textures, metal accents, and leather are sure to make a statement. Again, this is a trend that is always around, so you won’t have to dig too deep for some fitting pieces for an all-black look.
7. Vertical stripes
Stripes have always been a favorite pattern with Japanese designers. Stripes have been around since the olden kimono days when a simple pinstripe was enough to differentiate a high-class kimono from common wear. If there’s one pattern you should be investing in this year that is not check (which can be hard to put on tops and basics anyway), it’s vertical stripes. Be it the classic pinstripe or a more daring approach like the barcode stripe, this pattern can freshen up an otherwise plain look, or act like a statement piece in a one-color coordinate. Just make sure you take inspiration from the Japanese in not overdoing it and sticking to one vertical stripe piece in your outfits.
8. Clear plastic
Clear plastic has transcended the boundaries of teenage fashion and is now slowly working its way towards the big runways. It definitely isn’t for everyone, as it requires quite a bit of courage to pull off, but you can start with something as simple as a raincoat. With clear plastic pieces, it’s important to think about what you’re wearing underneath, and opt for laconic pieces in plain colors. Or, if you’re not that confident, start with a clear plastic bag – there’s plenty of them available right now at both high-end and affordable brands.
Both Japanese street style and Japanese designers have been setting trends in international fashion for a very long time. However, some people still live with the impression that Japanese fashion is just wacky and colorful Harajuku teens, or, on the contrary, dark and edgy goths and punks. Truth be told, the number of people who actually do dress that way is extremely small compared to the general Japanese fashion community. That’s why you can easily take inspiration from Japanese designers, brands, and street fashion icons for your personal style – including some of the 2018 men’s fashion tips we mentioned above!
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