WWD reports that Ryohei Kawanishi is drawn to cultural melting pots. Before the Japanese designer moved to Harlem, he spent seven years living in Dalston, in East London that was known for its Caribbean community. Kawanishi said the main premise for Landlord is to take what he sees on the streets and translate it into fashion. This is a strategy practiced by many, if not most, designers, but there’s something different about his interpretations, which err on the side of appropriation rather than homage.
Reggae formed the foundation for his spring collection, and sometimes the references were quite literal but (still expected). One sweater read “Bob” — as in Bob Marley — and other oversize knits were covered with “Jerk Chicken” and marijuana leaves. Then there was the Rastafarian-influenced color palette of red, green and yellow, which looked particularly fresh on color-blocked pants and jackets made from nylon.
Kawanishi said visual references from street markets also crept into the collection. This was evident with the camo prints placed to obscure a faux Burberry plaid along with the leather sneakers and sandals worn without socks. Other highlights included a satin parka, a matte leather jacket and the cuffed, baggy denim.
Become a Harlem insider - Sign-Up for our Weekly Newsletter!
Kawanishi, who is now on his fourth collection, has a knack for artfully reflecting the world around him in a way that’s current — or trendy — but still original.
Via WWD edited for HW.