Highsnobiety

AURALEE is finally poised to explode. The humble Japanese clothing brand has quietly and organically grown its base of admirers so large that it has simply become too excellent to remain under the industry's radar at large.

Pharrell's splashy Louis Vuitton presentations are the conventional kick-off for the Paris branch of Men's Fashion Week, what with their celeb-rich front rows and radical glitz. It just makes sense that the week's biggest headline-grabber would function as the metaphorical starter pistol.

But AURALEE, which typically presents its collections mere hours prior to LV, has since emerged as an IYKYK tentpole.

At the June 18 premiere of AURALEE's Spring/Summer 2025 collection, for instance, team Highsnobiety was rubbing shoulders with the real fashion heads, a veritable who's-who of editors and insider-y tastemakers who cotton to the good stuff right before it goes mass.

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And AURALEE epitomizes good stuff.

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The label's co-ed garments are appreciably real-world grounded while also exquisitely aspirational, cut from outrageously fine cloth often made exclusively for AURALEE — a luxury few other young labels can attain.

But AURALEE isn't like other young labels. Being based in Japan affords AURALEE numerous perks, including access to some of the world's finest fabric mills and production facilities. It also grants the label a ravenous domestic fanbase who help shore up AURALEE's bottom line by selling out its remarkably timely seasonal drops.

And while AURALEE has wisely angled a long-term partnership with New Balance into a series of collaborations that ensure consistent bottom-up bloggy buzz, its seasonal Paris catwalks are the spoke from which much of the newfound appreciation extends.

Styled by Charlotte Collet, the AURALEE presentations are the stuff of effortlessly elegant dreams.

Models, layered in crisply oversized shirts and clingily opaque sweaters, clutch plump leather bags with their heads wrapped in knitted hoods and feet shod in desaturated dad shoes or soft suede mules. Their trench coats billow behind them and their leather belts dangle from the loops of their luxuriously loose slacks.

AURALEE mastered genuine quiet luxury far before the term was ever codified and continues doing it better than nearly all pretenders to the throne.

Between the inarguable tangible appeal, solid pricing — with AURALEE, you always get more than you pay for — and remarkably canny brand positioning, AURALEE's international presence has soared.

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In the fast few years alone, AURALEE stockists have expanded from kingmaking boutiques like New York menswear mecca C'H'C'M' to omnipresent all-culture retailers like KITH and beyond, stretching across nearly every continent and digital platform.

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Like the label itself, widespread interest in AURALEE has grown patiently. This isn't a sudden fixation but the result of word-of-mouth buzz as more fashion bystanders come around to AURALEE's consistently sublime designs.

The recent hype around AURALEE has been so palpable that it prompted the industry's most externally visible insider, Lauren Sherman, to recently ponder why more fashion publications haven't overtly sung AURALEE's praises.

Though that's likely to change with some of the larger outlets soon, AURALEE has been well-loved by menswear-focused writers for some time.

Personally, I've personally been covering the label for the better part of a decade. I interviewed founder Ryota Iwai several years ago and met up with the brand's reps in-person around the same time, if only to personally offer my undying adoration.

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In fact, I have a deeper stake in the quiet AURALEE boom: I lived in Japan in 2015, when Iwai founded AURALEE.

At the time, I was only passingly aware of the then-new brand but my brief encounters with it were impactful. A year later, I returned to America with an AURALEE sweater made of otherworldly soft and warm speckled cashmere. It was so nice that it even smelled nice; even after being washed, the sweater was permanently infused with the scent of — and I don't know why this is my go-to comparison but it is — just-bathed puppies.

I've watched, satisfied from afar, as AURALEE's stoic eminence and solid sneakers win over an increasing number of converts.

In recent months, buyers for stores that don't carry AURALEE (but would like to) have told me of their love for its painfully stylish runways. Buyers for stores that do carry AURALEE have told me that it remains one of their top sellers.

Digital commentators, in turn, have begun to more frequently discuss AURALEE beyond its admittedly covetable sneakers.

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Truly, there's something in the water. Or in the hard-twist wool viyella, such that it is. And it's about time.

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