Junya Watanabe Man A/W 2018
Mood board: Junya Watanabe’s clothes have a norm-core confidence. They are conversant, utilitarian and good. While so many designers partner up with the most random brands to feed the zeitgeist, Watanabe has quietly carved out a large customer base of men who are there for his commitment to meaningful collaboration. You get the best of both worlds. From wide-cut denim jeans made with Levi’s to New Balance trainers and The North Face raincoats, Watanabe makes clothes that are practical yet performative. Functional decoration was the theme for A/W 2018; the models wore a series of recognisable uniforms, unified by an assured authenticity.
Best in show: As always Watanabe looked to practicality and the poetry of details designed for garments with a specific use. Much of the collection had reflective strips sewn across it, either in thin white across the front of jackets or bold fluro yellow as patches at the knee. Curiously Kim Jones in his final collection for Louis Vuitton had flashes of fluro too – his was a nod to travel, an attitude on the move. Watanabe reclaimed the subversion of workman’s uniforms favoured by Paris’ new guard. He did it first. Consequently A/W 2018 sits neatly amongst the buzzy archetypes of menswear, yet with a candid disregard for the cyclical, sycophantic world of fashion trends. The duffle coats, heavy plaid shirts, cargo trousers and jeans are anti fashion in their utility.
Team work: Four jackets made in Arctic Tech fabric are manufactured by Canada Goose. Graphics were created with designers Ian Anderson and Nick Phillips at The Designers Republic. The Italian graffiti artist Matteo Ceretto Castigliano, known for his minimalist public interventions, also worked on motifs used across jumpers and knits. Other notable collaborations for A/W included remodelled sleeping bags and trail packs by The North Face which have been reinterpreted as jackets. Carrying over from last season, outerwear is made using Karrimor backpacks. Filson bags feature, as do shoes by the Heinrich Dinkelacker, the German company who have been using the Goodyear welting production method since 1879.