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Rakuten Tokyo Fashion Week

Crazy to think that BLACKMEANS, the nearly 20-year-old Japanese leather-obsessed punk fashion brand, never put together a runway show until this Fall/Winter 2022 presentation. Sure, you'd think that the commercialization of its clothing might go against its anti-establishmentarian ethos but it really doesn't.

If I had to hazard a guess as to why BLACKMEANS only just now put together a proper fashion week presentation, I'd assume it's something as simple as, well, the timing finally felt right.

And BLACKMEANS, which just showed its FW22 collection as part of the ongoing Rakuten Tokyo Fashion Week festivities, is in good company.

It joins perennial stand-outs like HYKE, LVMH Prize finalist Tomo Koizumi, and its punkish peers at COMME des GARÇONS-cosigned label KIDILL.

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If you aren't familiar with BLACKMEANS, join the club. Though the brand is pretty well-known within Japan, it's mostly a best-kept secret outside, aside from the occasional attempts to import BLACKMEANS' signature leather jackets.

BLACKMEANS has been around in one form or another since 2005 though designers Yujiro Komatsu and Masatomo Ariga properly established it in 2008 as a brand focused on leather goods, which it still specializes in.

BLACKMEANS has since expanded its output over the years to encompasses denim made in Hiroshima and little coin pouches, which have become especially popular with Instagram-savvy archivists.

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Soundtracked by trad-folk punks Turtle Island, BLACKMEANS' first-ever runway show is demonstrative of the brand's swelling design language.

Though it's still best-known internationally for its handcrafted leather ware, BLACKMEANS is more than mere riders jackets.

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Its Fall/Winter 2022 collection includes everything from crazy hybrid fleeces to tartan-patterned bondage jackets to sets stitched with BLACKMEANS' inimitable "scab" patchwork.

I mean, the stylistic juxtaposition is nutty: one look matches an armor-like leather with patterned jodhpur pants and shin-high boots.

But, even with the far-flung inspiration, BLACKMEANS punkish inclinations remain consistent. They just get stylistically amped up.

BLACKMEANS ain't just three chords and the truth. The leathers are still there (and still great) but the FW22 runway show is living proof that there's much more under the hood.

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