What was once one of the best kept secrets in menswear is now the topic of discussion when speaking about streetwear fashion. We’re talking about Japanese Streetwear brands. Over the past years many have become trendsetters, innovators and risk takers all while delivering high-quality products.
If you’re familiar with Japanese Streetwear brands, you’ll most likely find plenty of your favorite brands below. If you’re foreign to all of this, prepare to be introduced to a brand new definition of style. Sites like CultEdge.com are among the best for you to know more about Japanese streetwear brands. Here is a list of 5 of the best Japanese Streetwear brands of today.
Considered one of the OGs of Japanese Streetwear brands, NEIGHBORHOOD has been in the game for well over 25 years. Created by Shinsuke Takizawa (Shin) back in 1994, the brand was part of the original Harajuku streetwear scene of the early ’90s that helped birth labels you will find in this list such as BAPE, UNDERCOVER and WTAPS. NEIGHBORHOOD draws inspiration from historic motorcycle subculture and is best known for its authentic selvedge denim that is manufactured to specific specifications and customized with natural washes resulting in a wide variety of finishes.
Founded in 1987, mastermind Japan is known for two distinct traits: using the color black on virtually everything and their iconic Skull and Crossbones logo. Subtle in design, mastermind still finds ways to think outside the box. Inspired by the punk and goth scene, mastermind Japan prides itself on the quality of their products and the detail that goes into them. That being the case, most mastermind Japan products are sold at high price tags. Masaaki Homma (owner) closed the brand’s doors back in 2013 but soon thereafter opened up shop once more. In 2017, the brand celebrated its 20th anniversary by launching a global label named mastermind WORLD. This marked a resurgence of the label which resulted in mastermind JAPAN and mastermind WORLD working side by side while releasing collections for their own respective markets.
A Bathing Ape (BAPE)
Arguably the most known Japanese Streetwear brand from this list, BAPE was founded back in 1993 by NIGO®. What started off as a brand that mostly sold graphic tees, BAPE eventually became a powerhouse that sold everything ranging from denim, jackets, toothbrushes and condoms. Yes, condoms. That said, some of BAPE’s most known items include their Bapesta sneakers, their shark hoodies, and the use of camo on a wide range of their products. BAPE has a very strong following that ranges from trendy teenagers to consumers who also dabble in high-end fashion.
Founded by the godfather of Japanese streetwear, Hiroshi Fujiwara, fragment design is easily recognized by its lightning bolt logo. Known for being a part of many notable collaborations, Fujiwara tends to keep the changes and alterations at a minimum when working on collaboration with other brands. Often times, the simple addition of the lightning bolt logo is more than enough to create a highly-coveted collaboration (see fragment design x Air Jordan ). Talk about brand recognition!
WTAPS, pronounced double-taps, was founded by Tetsu NIshiyama back in 1996. Before that, Tetsue was actually a protégé of Shin (founder of NEIGHBORHOOD) back in the early ‘90s when he started the FPAR t-shirt brand. WTAPS is inspired by authentic military designs. The brand fuses those authentic military designs with streetwear sensibilities and contemporary perspectives to create the aesthetic of their products. If you ever go to Japan, you will find that WTAPS is as popular as Supreme. Much of their product results in long lines on release days that sell out at a rapid pace.