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Originally presented at Paris Fashion Week last season, Junya Watanabe’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection showed plenty of progressions on the designer’s trademark themes. Watanabe is known for his penchant for craft, hard-wearing workwear, and durable American brands. The collection included several great collaborations like Levi’s and The North Face, the latter of which won our Editor’s Choice Crowns award for best collab of 2017.

But this season, his Carhartt collab definitely stands apart from the rest. Digging into the archives of the storied Detroit workwear company, Watanabe reinterprets their trademark duck canvas cloth into flex-ready patchwork jackets, lightweight peacoats, and straight-legged trousers with the perfect crop. It’s the ideal balance of fashion and function.

Here are some of our favorite pieces from the first drop of the collection:

Carhartt’s Traditional Jacket is subtly reinterpreted by Junya Watanabe in a lightweight cotton/linen blend with slightly different tan patchwork pieces. Elbow patches and button cuffs add to the traditional workwear appeal, while a striped partial lining channels more tailored menswear.

The three-button topcoat is made more appropriate for warmer weather, rendered out of different tones of dark blue canvas. Junya Watanabe adds details like a zipper pocket at the chest and casual flap pockets at the side, and two diagonal slit pockets ideal for stowing things like mobile phones. When you’re wearing a piece as grail-worthy as this, it’s probably best to keep everything else more muted.

Junya Watanabe upgrades the everyday trench coat using different tones of tan made of Carhartt’s signature duck canvas fabric. Added accents include a corduroy collar and partial gingham lining, and a snap-button placket covers a full-zip closure, letting you layer underneath it in different ways.

Part-bomber, part-baseball jacket, all Junya Watanabe. This beige and navy piece is made from a cotton and linen blend, making it ideal for slightly warmer temperatures than the middle of winter. The contrast yellow and navy rib on the collar and cuffs infuse a welcome sense of sportiness without being too literal.

The classic naval-inspired peacoat is rendered in patchwork cotton in varying shades of blue. The result is a great jacket for mild weather that makes a statement without screaming. Hand-warmer pockets with leather tipping and a contrast red stitch on the anchor buttons finish off the kinds of details Watanabe fans swoon over.

Junya Watanabe reinterprets Carhartt’s classic Ridgestone Jacket with a pajama-stripe lining and a tonal corduroy collar and a cotton/nylon material. It’s the ideal light jacket for warmer days, and also works for layering under heavier coats.

The simple Carhartt flag logo tee is given a vintage appeal through a slightly distressed graphic, speaking to the Detroit company’s workwear origins, and designer Junya Watanabe’s reverence for it.

Junya Watanabe flips the classic Carhartt logo tee, adding dual sleeve prints on this long-sleeve T-shirts and removing the usual ribbed cuffs for a more eminently casual look and feel.

A more elegant take on the classic work trouser, the monotone navy color is accented with coordinating buttons at the waist and back pockets. Made to be worn cropped, they’re ideal for flexing your best pair of kicks underneath.

More than meets the eye, these cropped double-knee pants feature leather elongated pockets on the back, rendered in a bright blaze orange. Whether worn with a simple T-shirt and sneakers or a more proper button-down and boots, it adds an upscale ruggedness to any fit.

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Words by Jian DeLeon
Editorial Director

Jian DeLeon is the Editorial Director at Highsnobiety. He is based in New York.

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