The opening line to this article on Business of Fashion about the coming of a "new aesthetic" made me chuckle. "Instagram, Barbour, vinyl records, artisanal butchers, moustaches, and the biography of your potatoes lovingly detailed on chalkboard signs at Whole Foods. What is wrong with this picture?", going on to quote London-based writer and entrepreneur Russell M Davies, who says “most of Shoreditch (London) would be wandering around in a leather apron if it could. With pipe and beard and rickets." Yes, the renaissance of yesteryear nostalgia is still very much happening in every hipster hole across the world. It's not even decade/period specific in most cases where the yearning for a hybrid of dandified Victoriana, country living in Edwardian times, whisky-glass clinking machoisms of the 1950s and other retro delights comes together in a mish mash of an invented past.
I'm not really one to besmerch any of this as I've frequently been charmed by this ritual of retrogazing. That said, it's worth taking a bit of distance to stand back and look upon what's happening and ask why it is that we want our JPGs sepia tinted and blurred, our menus written in chalk, not digitally printed or our furniture creased and worn in.
Japanese label ASEEDONCLOUD takes this timewarp mindset to a new level. I spoke of The Good Life aesthetic that the label and other style and food movements in Japan contribute towards. It's this fantasy of fresh bread coming out of Aga's, blue and white checkered aprons, bouquet garnis in Le Creuset pots, broderie anglaise pretty clothes hanging on string (not nylon!) washing lines and so on and so forth. That's all fair enough but ASEEDONCLOUD for A/W 12-3 looks to an even more far-reaching extreme, one that perhaps isn't in our minds when we think of "the good old days". This entirely unisex collection is themed around "BOKUDOUGI" which means young shepherd's wear. The story is about a young shepherd who leaves his village to travels alone and quickly grows up along the jouney, He/she goes through stages of dishevelled attire, so that in the end when he/she returns, he has a cleaner and neatened up appearance.
Designer Kentaro Tamai wanted to focus on the comfort of clothing, using soft fabrics like light weight melton and cashmere. It's a shame that I didn't get to see this collection in person in Tokyo as ever, with quiet clothing that treads as softly as ASEEDONCLOUD's, it's much better to go and touch and feel the stuff. Still, this set of lookbook images struck me as a extreme point of view of the sort of nostalgia-seeking as described in the beginning of this post. Tamai of course isn't proposing a shepherd's lifestyle to be re-enacted but the fact that he's even going to this realm where vocations of yesteryear are being resurrected, is interesting. I had to marvel when I picked up a magazine in Tokyo, which was purely dedicated to Japanese dudes wearing American workwear on the streets but in an extreme and heightened manner. It doesn't get more specific than that and it's a demonstration that Tokyo fashion's continued fascination with a storybook version of the past has interesting repercussions and results. ASEEDONCLOUD's collection definitely falls into that category.
P.S. Yes, I've been absent but as my next post will show, I've been consumed by a cocoon of extreme sticky heat, high sugar levels and a copious amount of coconut action. Bangkok has treated me well. Too well really.