A revamped Japan Fashion Week (JFW) kicked off in Tokyo yesterday, as budget cuts, a condensed schedule (from six days to four) and a conspicuous lack of advertising in the capital dealt a serious blow to organizers’ aim to “strengthen Tokyo’s position as a fashion hub.”

However, a new schedule revealed a bunch of fresh names and some who had previously given JFW a wide berth, such as Factotum and Yoshio Kubo. Also involved in the new look of JFW is the cult streetwear label Phenomenon, which has previously collaborated with Britain’s Cassette Playa, and Miharayasuhiro which has an ongoing collaboration with Puma.

The opening brand Entoptic, which debuted yesterday, had a strong show which one critic described as “cerebral.” Designed by Wataru Matsumoto and Kenta Kakinuma, the collection, mostly in black, played on a simple silhouette with intriguing details. Another newcomer, Sise, showing off-schedule, displayed contemporary menswear, in grays and black, which included slim tailored tops and jackets with a baggy, relaxed trouser.

The highlight of the first day, however, was Koji Udo’s Factotum that is one of the strongest menswear labels to come out of Tokyo in recent years. The F/W 10 collection, inspired by Tibet, had a strong military/outdoors feel and included some ink-jet down jackets and long-knitted cardigans that were carefully accessorized with giant gloves and snoods. Rugged, bohemian and well-crafted, Factotum is an overwhelmingly positive addition to a fashion week which is in dire need of stylish sustenance.

—Paul McInnes

Photo courtesy of Will Robb