By Lorenzo Molina

Global men’s online retailer Mr Porter has teamed up with well-known Japanese retailer Beams in order to select six up-and-coming Japanese brands –Aloye; Kics Document; Marvy Jamoke; orSLOW; Sasquatchfabrix; and Teatora– to create a capsule collection with each of them.

Launched on January 12, each collection includes 6-9 pieces and has a different focus. While the partnership with orSLOW focuses on denim incorporating patchwork and rip repair distressing techniques, the cooperation with Aloye features a very wearable selection of sportswear-meets-tailoring pieces such as wool houndstooth-check suit pants and a navy jersey t-shirt with oversized polka dot chest pocket and panel. Worth mentioning as well are the proposals of Sasquatchfabrix, characterized by gaudy ‘firework’ prints on tops and nice souvenir coach jackets.

Orslow for Mr Porter + Beams
Orslow for Mr Porter + Beams

Sasquatchfabrix for Mr Porter + Beams
Sasquatchfabrix for Mr Porter + Beams


Daniel Todd, buyer at Mr Porter, exchanged with us a few words about regional differences in fashion, Japanese craftsmanship and how much beauty there is yet to be discovered in this country.

When viewing the images of the different capsule collections, I thought that the products are beautiful, but actually not very different to what some Western designers are doing and Western consumers are familiar with. Do you believe that regional differences in fashion are blurring as a result of global-reach trends?
If we take Sasquatchfabrix, as an example, there are lots of design elements that feel to me uniquely Japanese - use of sashiko stitching, deep indigo colour, embroidered souvenir jackets. Also the shapes feel very Japanese as seen with the wide leg pants. One of the things we wanted to highlight with these capsules was attention to detail and craftsmanship so whilst something like a Kics Document Oxford shirt might on the surface look similar to other shirts, the difference is in the construction, fabrication and fit. I would agree that there is a blurring of trends to an extent but I think that's driven by the internet. Fifteen years ago you could only access Japanese fashion through magazines and now we have a huge, instantly accessible wealth of resources and reference. Micro trends that used to exist within certain markets now gain greater exposure through the way we share information and the expansion of global retailers like Mr Porter.

Kics Document for Mr Porter + Beams
Kics Document for Mr Porter + Beams

Aloye for Mr Porter + Beams
Aloye for Mr Porter + Beams


In a statement, you say that in Japan there’s a heightened respect and awareness in terms of product. What could American and European brands learn or adopt from their Japanese counterparts?
There is a heightened attention to detail with fabrics and techniques, and a sense of time and longevity in the making of clothes. Not to say that doesn't exist in other markets but one of the reasons we have so many Japanese labels is that these are all elements that are prevalent in so many of their brands. As a buyer and a lover of product they're all elements we appreciate and so do our customers.

One of the goals of the collaboration with Beams was to expose Japanese design to markets outside of that region. Is it still more difficult for a Japanese brand to gain a following in the US/Europe than the other way around?
The Japanese market is so strong domestically that often that is enough to sustain a lot of brands. When we visit Tokyo we are always blown away by the sheer scale of the retail. There are so many good menswear stores selling incredible brands that even we as buyers haven't seen before. A lot of these brands don't show during the traditional Western sales calendar and many only sell in Japan which is why we visit so regularly.
A few years ago the only way to access Japanese product would have been places like Yahoo Japan or by a proxy service, paying someone to physically go to the store and pick something up for you then post it out. This feels like a strange concept to all but the most die-hard of Japanese fashion devotees and what we want to do with these collections is to give these brands and their amazing product a global stage for people to discover them.