JAPANESE STREETWEAR COLLAB EXCLUSIVELY ON YUGEN
It’s no secret to our audience that we are true believers and supporters of Japanese fashion, streetwear to be more precise. Japanese streetwear is a mix between a culture and a lifestyle and here at YUGEN we are fanatical about it. Whether it be through major brand collaborations, runway shows or even because of anime and gaming, we just can't get enough of it. While always on the search for the hottest new brands, we also develop deep friendly relationships with our YUGEN brand family and support our brand partners along their journeys. We first met founders of Tokkou and Yoroshiku 3 years ago and are now excited to present you this exclusive to YUGEN collaboration.
Japanese bōsōzoku brand Tokkou met with East London based and Japanese born YOROSHIKU 4649 - the designers Hide (Tokkou) and Yumi (4649) collaborated during the months of lockdown to combine their aesthetics and drop an exclusive capsule of upcycled pieces. Standing up to old strict traditionalist views, these two defiant, non-conforming brands are bringing out the true essence of Japanese streetwear in the face of their WARUGAKI capsule.
YUGEN: How did this WARUGAKI collaboration start? Could you also tell us the origin of the name?
Yumi (YOROSHIKU 4649): What's east coast hip hop and Japanese bōsōzoku in common ? Yoroshiku brand is deeply influenced by hiphop culture and lifestyle, while Tokkou brand is coming from bōsōzoku subculture at its core. There are so many motorcycle enthusiasts within hip hop field and I particularly picked 90's Bad Boy Records and Ruff Ryders' movement (R.I.P. DMX) as the main inspiration for this collaboration.
Hide (Tokkou): WARUGAKI has a few different meadings: 1. Kid 2. Brat, 3. Crybaby, 4. Rug rat, 5. Tattletale 6. Scamp - the real meaning is somewhere within. It stands for 'Bad Boy' - Waru means 'bad' and Gaki is a slang for 'kid'. Gaki also means 'evil' which is reflected in the artwork, where you see the child/demon split face. We take 90s hip hop and bōsōzoku biker gang culture and create this mischievous bad boy character in WARUGAKI. Both TOKKOU and 4649 have a common background of WARUGAKI, which we relate to each other’s work, 4649's designer YUMI took the lead on the illustrations for this project. Masa, the owner of TOKKOU, has also been supporting children's charities for a long time and with this project we wanted to combine our aesthetics and craftsmanship as well as give back to the community.
YUGEN: Can you tell us more about the design process and any other ideas you had?
YUMI (YOROSHIKU 4649): We have tried to combine the attitudes and aesthetics of both brands, while keeping our Japanese roots at the core - it was a fun challenge!
Hide (Tokkou): This time, I saw myself collapsing during COVID-19 pandemic, just as many other industries and small businesses did. I wanted to create an image of rebirth from the collapse. So I designed it with the image of rebirth in mind.
YUGEN: You initiated this collaboration during lockdown last year. Were there any difficulties with the project?
YUMI (YOROSHIKU 4649): The team Tokkou is very friendly, yet professional so it was an absolute pleasure to work with. Sending fabric/garments to each other across the sea was probably the trickiest part, however sharing creative ideas and inspiring each other helped uplift me and cope with the lockdown which is something I am so grateful for. (I am donating a percentage of sales to mental health charity Mind
Hide (Tokkou): I had a lot of fun meeting with YUMI, who is also Japanese, and we came up with a lot of ideas each time. I did all the drawing by hand and Yumi did the rest of the production work.
YUGEN: What kind of people did you have in mind when you made the clothes? Who would you like to see wearing your clothes?
YUMI (YOROSHIKU 4649): Together we wanted to reach wider audience who appreciate Japanese culture, aesthetics and 'authenticity' - mixing both of our brands' strength.
Hide (Tokkou): We haven't changed our target audience, but we want more young people to wear our collaboration items. Unlike the previous TOKKOU items, we have made the size looser, and we believe that this is an expression that can be achieved through 4649 collaboration.
YUGEN: Sustainability is a key aspect of fashion production and something we care a lot about. Did you keep that in mind when producing the WARUGAKI collection?
YUMI (YOROSHIKU 4649): We have utilised surplus fabric/garments from the past productions from both brands wherever possible. Yoroshiku has been focusing on sustainable/upcycling collections for a while and it was great to extend this practice/ethos to this collaboration too.
Hide (Tokkou): I am very concerned about the disposal of large amounts of stock, not only in the production and sales process, but also in the high brands and fast fashion. I think that the remaking and arrangement of such products should be increased in the future. I would like to think about how to change the look of existing products like this one, so that consumers do not feel bored with them.
YUGEN:Is there anything else you would like to say or leave unsaid in this WARUGAKI collection?
YUMI (YOROSHIKU 4649): Hope you enjoy this collection as much as we did making it !
Hide (Tokkou): We hope that fashion can make people feel a little brighter even in today's closed environment.