The outdoors have long served as an inspiration for purpose-driven menswear. It’s the foundation of just about every techwear brand hardcore gear nerds fawn over, and it’s readily been repurposed in the context of city life. Not just fashionable early adopters — but even their polar opposites, run-of-the-mill mainstream finance bros currently shaking in their bench-made shoes now that Patagonia will no longer make fleece vests with corporate logos on them.
Somewhere in this dichotomy, Japanese designer Fumito Ganryu found a space to create his third standalone collection. Part of it is a reaction to a tech-addicted society, one so obsessed with social media gratification and statistics like screentime that quite possibly, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to stop and smell the roses without taking a pic for Instagram first.
For his Spring/Summer 2020 collection, Ganryu looks at the seemingly discordant color palettes of the natural world, letting that wabi-sabi sense of beauty speak for itself. Taking images of crisp skies (described by the designer as “digital inkjet sky” in a press release), grass motifs, Van Gogh-esque starry nights, and pattern-like raindrops, he transforms these natural images into camouflage for the digital age.
Championing the notion of actually being in the moment versus preserving it in the cloud, Ganryu’s latest collection is an exercise in being present. The drape of the silhouettes and the way they flow on the runway is something that seems more sublime in person than experienced secondhand through social media. The subtle complexity of the clothing and the richness of the materials is something better experienced when the clothing is right in front of you rather than an intangible image.
Part of that is the appeal of Ganryu’s clothing itself. It’s one of those brands that’s kind of its own best-kept secret. It’s luxurious because of the execution and intent of the designer, rather than the provenance standing on the shoulders of a recognizable logo. Of note are Ganryu’s elevated coaches jackets, toeing the line between youthful staple and a grown-up go-to piece, but the highlight is definitely a verdant leaf-print parka in which photo-realistic ferns are contrasted with a blurry palm leaf print.
Indeed, outerwear is Ganryu’s strongest suit, from boxy suit jackets, duffle coats with kimono sleeves, and an oversized trench that skews the line between genderless dressing, another focus for the designer. Although he shows on the men’s schedule in Paris, two female models subtly nod to the fact that the clothing is meant to appeal to men and women.
Another one of Ganryu’s specialties is great footwear, and here bespoke sandals from Suicoke complete his vision well. But perhaps the standout accessories are his upcoming collaboration with Salomon. Minimal black trail runners with an ultra-lightweight sole speak both to trends in sneakers but also the outdoor inspiration of the collection. Although they’ll likely be worn more in cities than on hiking trails, it’s nice to know that these kicks are surely built to withstand whatever nature can throw under them.