1961 in Fukushima, Japan
The Japanese designer and visionary Junya Watanabe challenges preconceived notions of fashion with his highly innovative design aesthetics, clean lines, deconstructed tailoring and usage of advanced fabrics – or, “techno couture” – placing his eponymous fashion label at the forefront of the industry.
It comes perhaps as no surprise that Watanabe started out cutting his teeth – and cultivating his avant-garde taste – over at COMME des GARÇONS back in 1984, on the heels of graduating from Tokyo’s prestigious Bunka Fashion College. From pattern cutter to chief designer of the CdG Tricot line, he worked his way up the business, and started designing under his own name under the COMME des GARÇONS umbrella in 1992.
His breakout collection placing him in the history books of fashion was his Spring/Summer 2000 collection, titled ‘Function and Practicality’ – it showcased reversible pieces with models stopping mid-runway to undress and invert the garments, with a simulated rain cloud overhead also proving the collection to be waterproof. The stuff of legends. It wasn’t until 2001 however that he began producing menswear, and good thing he did.
Fast-forward to the present and Watanabe is responsible for some of the most forward-thinking, sought-after collectibles around, including collabs with the likes of Canada Goose, North Face, Carhartt, New Balance, Loewe, Puma, Levis and Converse.
4 million dollars.
Junya Watanabe’s design style is characterized by his use of technical fabrics, layering, and a mix of traditional and modern elements.
Some of Junya Watanabe’s famous collections include his Autumn/Winter 2009 collection, which was inspired by the workwear of manual laborers, and his Spring/Summer 2013 collection, which was inspired by the Bauhaus movement.
Junya Watanabe has collaborated with brands such as Levi’s, The North Face, and Nike, as well as designers such as Tracey Emin and Raf Simons.
Junya Watanabe’s clothing can be purchased at select luxury boutiques and department stores, as well as online through the brand’s website and other e-commerce platforms.