Nanamica’s NYC store nods to a Japanese beach house
Japanese menswear brand Nanamica has collaborated with New York-based architect Taichi Kuma on its Soho boutique
Although fashion labels have been quick to offer pieces that newly bridge the gaps between work, life and leisure, the Japanese menswear brand Nanamica has championed a holistic approach to dressing since it was founded in 2003. Originally conceived to provide high functioning apparel that suits both city and outdoor wear, Nanamica’s president and founder Eiichiro Homma expanded on that philosophy with a slew of collaborations with brands such as North Face Purple Label, Dr. Martens, Champion and Woolrich.
After a period of re-establishing the brand’s identity in the 2010s, which included presenting it on its own at New York and Paris Fashion Weeks and Pitti Uomo in Milan, Homma opened Nanamica’s first mono-brand boutique in Tokyo in 2019, with plans to replicate its success in New York later that year.
‘Our concept has always been a high-level mix of fashion and function,’ says Homma, an avid surfer, while explaining the significance of having a presence in the United States. ‘Most of the designs are based on American sportswear. We add the latest solution in terms of fabric, apply a modern fit and add some small, Japanized features. It may look simple and neutral at first glance. However, we believe people must find the difference and value of Japanese sportswear in every small element. New York has long been considered a melting pot of multi-cultural fusion, we always planned to have a store there, since the beginning of the company.’
Although planned for the later half of 2019, logistical and renovation challenges, along with the onset of the global pandemic and New York City’s subsequent lockdown, just two weeks before the project could be completed, put the endeavor on hold.
Opened quietly in August 2020, the Nanamica boutique in New York’s Soho neighbourhood is an homage to its name. ‘Since Nanamica means ‘Houses of seven seas’, we always intend to include some marine inspiration into our designs,’ shares Homma. ‘The brief [that] I provided [prospective] designers for the New York store was simply, the frame of Japanese beach house.’
To realise the concept, Homma worked with the New York-based architect Taichi Kuma, who created the store’s alluring gabled structures, interspersed with translucent panels of corrugated plastic, in an expression of being by the seaside. ‘Daiki Suzuki of Engineer Garments introduced me to Taichi,’ Homma recounts. ‘Although I already had ideas and direction for the New York store, I immediately wanted to work with Taichi after meeting him in New York. Aside from creating the frame of a Japanese beach house, my other request was [for the space to exude] Japanese sensibility.’
The latter is achieved effortlessly. The light-filled and airy space elegantly mixes simple materials such as light oak, plastic and mirror, for an elevated feel. In such environs, Nanamica’s collections, displayed mostly along the interior’s periphery, speak for themselves. Its spirit for collaboration also endures - its newest limited edition pieces include a waterproof jacket and hat made from Gore-Tex and konbu (Japanese kelp) for Tanner Goods. §