Forward tradition

Junya Watanabe SS16
28 June 2015

Junya’s sensibility for tradition is continuously apparent, but never monotonous, and never vapid. His SS15 collection was dominated by the Japanese textile-technique of boro; its relationship with denim is intrinsic, but SS16 saw Junya subvert that protocol and execute it through cotton patches and alternative placements. But its presence lay within a larger, Africana narrative that surfaced primarily through a collaboration with Vlisco, a Dutch textile-company that has supplied fabric to West and Central Africa for sometime.

Every item was infected with colour. Some, very slightly. Others, more conspicuous. Placed sporadically, as to avoid contriver and create balance, with brightly coloured strips vertically placed on shoulders, or horizontally around the forearm of sleeves. African paraphernalia – like bead-and-bone necklaces, long scarves, tribal shields and headdresses – deepened this bond with the continent, but kept fairly westernised with ivory, knee-length shorts and panama hats (a possible nod to the West’s grip on Africa’s dark, colonial past.)

Boro blankets, acting as ankle-length skirts, and ponchos, gave a slight feminine air to the collection. While some sort of order was restored as the collection progressed towards the end: blocks of colour – ivory, beige, blue and red – infiltrated the boro’s chaotic nature that really uplifted the relaxed, tailored shapes, representing Junya’s manipulative expertise and penchant in the world of tradition.

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