Motocross inspires Junya Watanabe MAN and Reigning Champ’s race-ready new collaboration

Junya Watanabe MAN and Canadian athletic-wear label Reigning Champ have teamed up on limited-edition pieces first shown at the Japanese designer’s show in Paris last January

Junya Watanabe Reigning Champ collab
Junya Watanabe MAN x Reigning Champ A/W 2023
(Image credit: Courtesy of Reigning Champ and Junya Watanabe)

Recent years have seen Japanese designer Junya Watanabe become one of fashion’s most prolific collaborators. For his A/W 2023 menswear collection alone, he worked with 18 brands – among them Oakley, Carhartt, Brooks Brothers, Palace and North Face – on pieces interspersed throughout a collection inspired by the work of Berlin-based label Innerraum, which creates futuristic accessories referencing the protective elements of motorsports gear. The collection was shown in Paris in January 2023. 

This month, one such collaboration – with Vancouver-based athletic-wear label Reigning Champ – arrives in stores, its designs also drawing inspiration from motorsports gear, in this case, motocross, a form of off-road motorbike racing. A prescient inspiration to designers in recent seasons – several brands have created iterations of the signature motocross leather jacket – the distinct uniforms are recognisable for their bold, logo-heavy designs featuring colourful elements and motifs. 

Full speed: Junya Watanabe MAN x Reigning Champ A/W 2023 

Junya Watanabe Reigning Champ collab

(Image credit: Courtesy of Reigning Champ and Junya Watanabe)

In the concise, limited-edition collaboration, Watanabe and Reigning Champion choose to eschew such colour for a series of all-black pieces, with motocross instead referenced in biker jacket-inspired quilted sleeves and shoulder pads on a round-neck cotton sweater (a version of Reigning Champion’s signature midweight terry sweatshirt). A pair of matching sweatpants, meanwhile, come with a draped drop crotch. Reigning Champ describes Watanabe‘s process as ‘deconstructing’ its most recognisable pieces.

Founded in 2007, Reigning Champ claims to create ‘the finest athletic wear in the world’, with all pieces constructed in Canada. An ongoing collaboration – Watanabe has reinterpreted Reigning Champ’s collections for several seasons – this latest collection follows a S/S 2023 collaboration that featured sweatpants adorned with the works of American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.

Junya Watanabe MAN x Reigning Champ A/W 2023 is available now from Reigning Champ’s website and selected retailers.

Junya Watanabe Reigning Champ collaboration

(Image credit: Courtesy of Reigning Champ and Junya Watanabe)
Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.