Though it was founded in 2003 and has won various international prizes — even receiving an LVMH Prize nod in 2019 — Kunihiko Morinaga's ANREALAGE has maintained a pretty low profile outside of Japan for most of its existence, perhaps undeservingly so. Its new Champion collaboration likely won't make ANREALAGE any more famous but hopefully it'll attract more international attention. It certainly caught my eye.
Morinaga's a pretty genius pattern-maker and is obsessed with textile innovation, issuing collections with reflective, heat-sensitive fabrics and garments that can be rolled into a ball or adjusted using internal wiring.
Again, though it's far from a household name across the globe, ANREALAGE is pretty famous domestically, enough to have attracted collaborations with famous admirers like Nintendo, Takashi Murakami, and Fendi.
ANREALAGE x Champion Japan is a worthy intro to Morinaga for the uninitiated, combining several of his signature techniques into one weirdly compelling collection.
Here, Champion's trademark Reverse Weave sweater is blown up to 3XL size, warped into the shape of a ball or triangle, and occasionally fitted with extra sleeves that allow the wearer to shape the garment around their body like a robe.
T-shirts become ponchos and blankets are printed with co-branding and one of Morinaga's personal mantras: "God is in the details."
It's pretty advanced stuff and, yet, it's Morinaga using only a fraction of his powers. Note the lack of photosensitive textiles or even more adventurous shapes.
Still, it's pretty impactful to see a Champion hoodie that can be worn normally or folded to create a three-dimensional geometric shape, the familiar becoming foreign.
It's indicative of ANREALAGE's far-reaching post-fashion ethos and it's also why ANREALAGE is the perfect partner for a familiar face like Champion. This is progressive design for the people.