Style tribes are everywhere these days. From the stalwarts dressed head-to-toe in black Rick Owens gear to the streetwear acolytes readily dripped in recognizable brands like Palace and BAPE, and even that dedicated cadre of dudes who still love to wear tailored Italian suits and double-monk strap shoes every day.
In this super eclectic era of menswear it seems anything goes, especially as workplace dress codes become more lax around the world and “luxury” and “hype” are beginning to resemble each other more and more. Jun Takahashi decided to create his own set of dedicated style tribes for his latest collection, and also crafted a clever context for them — taking cues from seminal ’70s film The Warriors.
Takahashi’s “The New Warriors” takes after his UNDERCOVER Records concept, which largely revolved around fictional bands. Here, he imagines eight distinctive fashion gangs, replete with their own iconography and cultural uniform.
The predominantly tan-clad Dead Hermits have an obsession with skulls and romantically macabre imagery; the Vlads are your stereotypical goth kids; the Bohemian Bootleg Truth-ers have a penchant for tartan kilts and embellished ethnic leather rider jackets; the nerdy Bloody Geekers wear thick glasses, carry tools with neon-lit handles, and sport gear with kawaii-inspired motifs; Zenmondooo appears to be a take on Japan’s “bosozoku” motorcycle gangs with a motocross fusion, and then things get weird in signature UNDERCOVER fashion.
Not just satisfied with creating fake subcultures, the identities of other gangs get even more specific. The X Shadow Hoppers are a hiking-inspired crew of seemingly time-traveling backpackers, the LARMS are a squad of psychic-powered teenagers in the vein of Akira with a thing for iridescent fabrics and technical outerwear, and the perplexing Zoruoe are a cult of kaiju-worshippers whose shirts wish for giant monsters to wreak havoc in major cities all over the world.
Through the staggering amount of thought that went into the collection, combined with the novel way each gang walked the runway (during the finale, each gang carried its own flag while walking to the intro music from The Warriors), Takahashi reminds us about the mindsets and shared values that continue to unite the streetwear and niche fashion communities, especially in menswear. It isn’t just about great-looking clothes, but finding like-minded obsessives who share your weird passions and interests. Before The New Warriors, after all, there was #squadgoals.
In other news from Paris Fashion Week, Raf Simons appears to be breaking away from the streetwear trend.