You don’t need a degree in fashion to understand why people from outside Japan have long admired Japanese clothing brands.
The Japanese are well known for their vision and creativity when it comes to clothes.
Japanese designers and fashion brands are frequently on the cutting edge, leading the latest trends in the fashion world.
At the same time, many of them still pay homage to Japanese culture while offering high quality craftsmanship and close attention to detail.
For decades now Japan has been a breeding ground for some of the world’s most creative and innovative designers and brands, many of which still fly under the radar for Western shoppers.
To help shed some light on them, below we’ve rounded up 43 of the best Japanese clothing brands where you can find cool clothes and fashion-forward styles.
The 43 Top Japanese Clothing Brands
Looking for the coolest Japanese fashion brands? Look no further….
Affordable Japanese Brands
One of Japan’s most popular brands, Uniqlo is known for offering essential clothing staples and pretty high-quality products, all for affordable prices.
Now a global company, the popular Japanese clothing brand has expanded their customer base to nearly 20 different countries, and has become especially popular in North America.
Uniqlo has a more minimalistic style than many of the flashier Japanese fashion brands, which often have a heavy influence of haute couture and high fashion.
But since Japanese style tends to be a season or two ahead of the West, even their basics still look trendy and on point, especially compared to other brands from the United States or Europe.
Under the same ownership as Uniqlo, GU falls into a similar category of affordable fast fashion clothing.
GU is one among the most affordable brands in Japan, partly because their clothes are geared toward a younger demographic than Uniqlo, so their customers are less flush with cash.
But even though their styles skew young, people of all ages can find everyday essential pieces for your wardrobe.
Established in 2014, nano universe brings you contemporary clothing for both women and men.
Similar to the likes of GU and Uniqlo, this Japanese brand offers the same vibe of clothing but at a premium price point.
Attached with these higher prices are both original design, and functional features like UV protection, sweat stain protection and heat shield effect.
High Fashion Japanese Brands
The Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto launched his namesake label in 1981.
And with it, he introduced the world to his dark perspective on women’s fashion.
Today, his collection offers its take on sports apparel while still staying true to the dark aesthetic he’s internationally known for.
Focused on bringing items that not only look great but last the test of time, Visvim executes the trendy items in their seasonal collections with artisanship and attention to detail.
But be warned:
Thanks to their premium look and overwhelming demand, don’t be surprised by the astronomical price range.
Best known for their sneaker collaboration with Nike, Sacai is another high fashion brand that reinterprets what design and style mean.
Utilizing a combination of fabrics, patterns and new silhouettes Sacai is in a unique lane of its own.
Although it has it’s flagships stores based in Asia, Sacai is available in boutique department and specialty stores around the world.
As the first Japanese designer to ever have their own fashion show in London. Known for having a design taste of “wild maximalism”, Kansai Yamamoto’s collection of avant garde clothing is one of a kind.
Although Yamamoto passed away in July 2020, his label is still highly sought after. With vintage pieces still circulating on the market, you can guarantee that they sell at exuberant prices.
This high fashion label embodies that forward-thinking approach the Japanese are famous for. Bringing his futuristic design to the table, Issey Miyake has interrupted what people see as fashion and has broadened creative interpretation.
You might be surprised to know that the black turtle neck that Steve Jobs wore is Issey Miyake!
If you head over to their online store and miss their drops, you’re most likely to see every item has sold out. That’s how highly sought after Miyagi Hidetaka merchandise is. The Japanese designer is creative in every sense of the word and evokes this in the patterns and shapes that he uses in his clothing line.
Carrying an extravagant price tag, don’t be surprised with how much yen you spend on each piece of clothing.
The Best Japanese Streetwear Brands
A Bathing Ape
One of the biggest brands in the Japanese streetwear scene, you’ve probably seen mainstream rappers and other famous artists rock Bathing Ape.
Known for their cartoonish designs, founder Nigo made his mark on the premium streetwear scene.
A Bathing Ape is also known to be in an ongoing collaboration with countless celebrities and other brands.
Jun Takashi launched his brand in 1993 and from then his label has been rolling.
With a little convincing from Commes des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo, Takashi burst onto the international scene at the Paris Fashion Week in 2003.
Utilizing premium fabrics coupled with a design language like no other, Undercover separates itself from other streetwear brands.
Founded by Shinichi Izaki better known as hobby:tech, KIKS TYO is a streetwear brand that makes streetwear apparel, accessories and footwear.
One of the collections that made his brand popular was mixing the aesthetic of provocatively dressed women with sneakers. Although his brand is not as sought after as it was in the mid-2000’s, his brand is still popular in vintage fashion.
Founded in 1994 Neighbourhood is another premium Japanese clothing brand that specializes in streetwear. Taking inspiration from London punk, utilitarian and military style, Neighbourhood burst on the streetwear scene with unique clothing pieces.
Spicing up your essential pieces with oversized silhouettes and graphic designs, Neighbourhood has become one of the most coveted streetwear brands across the globe.
Founded by Japanese designer Tetsu Nishiyama in 1996, WTAPS is another premium streetwear brand. Similar to the brands of Neighbourhood and orSlow takes inspiration from workwear, military and the outdoors.
Exclusively only have 16 stockists around the world, WTAPS is a premium streetwear brand that many western companies look to.
Capturing inspiration from film, art and lastly music, Wacko Maria stamps their authentic sense of style on traditional street wear. Launched in 2005, Atsuhiko Mori marries his design ethos and language with master craftsmanship.
Offering a wide range of items from clothing, accessories and footwear, Wacko Maria is your one-stop-shop for clothing that will leave your friends wondering what brand you’re wearing.
Established in 1997 by Masaaki Honma, mastermind Japan is a luxurious streetwear brand.
Once mentored by Yohji Yamamoto, the Japanese designer, decided to launch a label that utilized expensive materials like cashmere, leather and silk.
Still to this date, mastermind Japan continues to hone in on using premium fabrics and designs that you haven’t seen before.
Needles was launched by Japanese designer Keizo Shimizu in 1997.
Although Needles is a Japanese label, it takes inspiration from vintage America and marries it with Shimizu’s unique creative lens.
Some of the most popular items that they sell are the iconic Needles tracksuit and his button up shirts that take elements from Japanese fashion culture.
Utilitarian clothing rooted in military and workwear heritage, orSlow is creating their clothing “slowly”.
The term is coined by literally taking a prolonged process, creating versatile pieces for any occasion and lastly retaining the vintage elements in the midst of an ever evolving fashion industry.
TAKAHIROMIYASHITA The Soloist
The Japanese designer founded his second brand TAKAHIROMIYASHITA The Soloist in 2010 just a year after he shut down Number (N)ine. He takes elements from the unconstructed, rock and roll and blends it with unconventional tailoring to create clothing that evoke his intrinsic design language.
Offered by many acclaimed boutiques around the world, you can find his unique collection but at a premium price point.
Most popular for having sneaker collaborations with the Jordan brand, we have Hiroshi Fujiwara’s fragment design.
This Japanese brand is best known for their collaborations with well established brands across the globe. They even had a partnership with luxury car manufacturer Maserati.
While you can wait for Fujiwara to drop his collections with other brands for a retail price, you’ll have to pay a premium on clothing previously released at exorbitant cost.
This brand was born after the disastrous earthquake rocked Japan in 2011. Darkness surrounded the bright city of Tokyo and was a signal to Toby Feltwell to start his own brand with Hishiyama Yutaka.
The Japanese brand has disrupted the streetwear scene with a design language that’s ahead of the curve. Their name, short from the latin term “Caveat Emptor” translates to “buyer beware”, which may serve as warning for those looking to try on their unique pieces.
Founded in 2010 by famous fashion designer and DJ NIGO, Human Made is an established streetwear brand.
It was no surprise that the clothing brand would do well with the mastermind who created the BAPE.
Human Made takes inspiration from pre 1960’s and mixes it with premium fabrics and graphic designs that are creatively native. The brand has also collaborated with Adidas in making footwear.
Befitting its name, and Wander is an outerwear company.
They specialize in making clothes for activities like hiking, backpacking and really anything outdoors.
Established in 2010 by Ketia Ikeuchi and Mihoko Mori, they launched their brand and Wander to create durable, light-weight and element resistant clothing.
Japanese Men’s Brands
Camoshita is inspired by 1960s American and French menswear.
They offer relaxed, tailored pieces for gentlemen looking for a vintage look.
Yasuto Kamoshita takes elements like a soft relaxed shoulder and a unique color palette to create an authentic brand he’s calling “the Japanese way to get dressed.”
Junya Watanabe MAN
A pupil of Comme des Garçons lead designer Rei Kawakuba, Watanabe is an innovative thinker that has reshaped Japanese fashion.
Apart from his work at Comme des Garçons he launched his own atelier in Tokyo and dedicated it to specialize in men’s clothing.
You can expect everyday pieces from the Japanese designer with a modern technical twist.
Japanese Sportswear Brands
Yohji Yamamoto makes it back on the list but this time with Adidas.
The three stripe brand recruited the Japanese designer in 2003, in hopes of creating a line that crossed over between sportswear and high-end fashion.
Coming out with silhouettes that are intrinsically unique to the Y-3 brand, the designer continues to push the creative boundary of athleisure.
True to its name, White Mountaineering is an outerwear company that creates garments that protect you from the elements. Combining weather resistant fabrics with an intricate design language.
Apart from the parkas that they craft, this Japanese company has dove into the world of streetwear, pumping out clothing items that are different from other urban clothing competitors.
This Japanese clothing brand fuses fashion with functionality as one of it’s main priorities.
Making clothes for both men and women, Nanamica creates neutral clothing that fits well and performs in any weather condition.
Some of the technologies used by the company are ALPHADRY, KODENSHI down, COOLMAX and GORE-TEX.
Holding onto the idea of the Japanese creating timeless garments that avoid trends, but rather set them, Nanamica achieves this with every piece of clothing made.
Japanese Department Store Brands
BEAMS is a Japanese department store that carries a wide variety of items that range from shoes, accessories, furniture to clothing.
While BEAMS does have its own separate clothing line, their collaborations with other companies such as The North Face is what makes them known around the world.
Similar to BEAMS, United Arrows is another department store that carries a multitude of luxury clothing brands. Apart from distributing and selling other company’s merchandise, United Arrows does have their own label.
Look to find essential everyday pieces from their clothing line. And because these garments are remastered, note that they charge a hefty premium.
Similar to both United Arrows and BEAMS, this Japanese department store carries almost every high fashion label abroad. While the brand does sell multiple labels, they still launch their own seasonal collections.
You can expect essential everyday pieces from SHIPS that are contemporary and well tailored. The Japanese brand is also well priced for the premium fabrics and quality that they offer.
Japanese Footwear Brands
Apart from Uniqlo, Seiko and a couple of these high end fashion designer labels; ASICS is probably a familiar brand you’ve come across. This Japanese sporting brand is focused on providing the best running shoes and apparel.
There’s not much to say about this brand other than the fact that they probably make one of the most comfortable shoes.
These aren’t your regular Birkenstocks or favorite brand of slides. Suicoke is a Japanese premium footwear company that creates performance sandals.
What separates them from others is their unique design consisting of thick straps and an elevated sole. Suicoke has also collaborated with other brands such as Undercover, Dr. Martens and Soul Collection.
Taking a step away from fashion designers, we introduce Tabio. This Japanese brand is fixated on providing a wide range of quality socks that are both durable and comfortable.
With over 30 million socks manufactured annually, the Japanese brand is conscious about the it’s environmental footprint.
In an effort to reduce their waste production, the sock brand donates leftover fabric to nursing homes and schools around Japan.
Japanese Women’s Brands
Imagine contemplating whether or not you’d want to style and dress Coco Chanel, Hanae Mori chose to dress the iconic model.
With a rich history in Japanese dress-making, Hanae Mori offers the most elegant and sophisticated garments that can be fitted for multiple occasions.
Also carrying a line of fragrances, Hanae Mori is your contemporary high fashion label.
Adding to our list of brands for women, Fumika Uchida is another high end fashion label.
Staying genuine to the vintage, but creating for a more progressive modern style, Fumika Uchida is able to achieve this with their brand.
This Japanese label uses an abundance of fabrics and combines it with a wide range of silhouettes introducing something American brands haven’t seen. It’s only a matter of time before Uchida breaks into the limelight.
For fans of “Kawaii” culture, this store was created for you.
And for those who don’t know what “kawaii” is, it’s basically everything cute.
The first store was launched in 1995 and continues to provide the Japanese with crazy fun clothing and other items that epitomize the Japanese girly girl culture.
Established in 2015, Kotohayokozawa is a women’s label that creates one-of-a-kind items that are unique and fashion trail-blazing. Apart from their main collection, they have two other lines todo kotohayokozawa and somebody kotohayokozawa.
Todo is a line that uses a one-of-a-kind decoration while Somebody uses solely reusable products. If you’re looking for something that’s truly different, this Japanese brand is definitely for you.
“New Urban Feminine”, that’s what MercuryDuo is calling their design concept.
The Japanese women’s brand creates elegant clothing pieces that blend tradition, fashion, metropolitan and nature.
While their style of clothing seems all too simple, their brand pushes for a design that targets women with a delicate dainty taste of fashion.
DRWCYS is another Japanese women’s fashion label.
Their brand’s concept goes after trend, the casual and the bohemian lifestyle. From dresses, everyday wear to accessories, DRWCYS has you covered.
Because of their elegant style, DRWCYS does charge a premium on their apparel but luckily their stuff does go on sale, so keep an eye out for a sweet deal.
Japanese Specialty Brands
Medicom Toy is an interesting company to throw on this list because they’re mainly known for their collectible toys.
However, Tatsuhiko Akashi’s company has collaborated with many clothing brands such as BAPE, atmos, PORTER and G-SHOCK.
Using their iconic BE@RBRICK designs, Medicom Toy is able to provide other clothing brands with an unusual style that makes them relevant in the world of fashion.
You’re probably familiar with this world renowned watch brand. Established in 1881, Seiko has many years of experience in watch making.
With a wide variety of watches for any budget, Seiko provides watch enthusiasts and your average Joe a watch for every occasion.
Evisu is a premium selvedge denim brand based in Japan.
Apart from American’s mastering the art of creating the best denim in the world, the Japanese are alongside and maybe even outdo them.
Taking the long route in making a pair of jeans, the process is time consuming and once was limited to a production of only 14 pairs a day.
Now a recognized worldwide brand, Evisu continues their craft and has even added other apparel to their line of denim.
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