Ready for the Rain

Trends Trends & Culture - May 21st, 2010

one: Cheer up miserable mornings with this quirky umbrella. The top may be the standard conservative black, but the underside is all blue skies and white fluffy clouds. Designed by the now deceased New York-based, avant-garde graphic designer Tibor Kalman, this umbrella is bound to put a spring in your step, even on the most miserable and wet of days.

MoMA Store (, ¥5,145.

Umbrella colorful grip, Cibone

two: Mottainai! The Japanese word, roughly meaning ‘what a waste,’ has been used in a recent poster campaign focussing on the nation’s dark secret: umbrella trash. Japan consumes enormous amounts of plastic umbrellas, most of which end up forgotten in train stations and outside shops. With so many identical plastic umbrellas, how do you distinguish which one is yours? A simple idea is this colorful grip, making it easier to find and pick up your umbrella when leaving.

Cibone (, ¥367–472.

Pileus umbrella by Takashi Mastumoto
three: This prototype project, developed by Takashi Mastumoto at Keio University, is like something straight from Bladerunner or a William Gibson novel. The umbrella combines a mobile device and internet 3D map application. Pileus makes city exploring fun, providing for natural interactions with web services via a large display and embedded sensors on the umbrella. Pileus was awarded the Prix de l’innovation at Laval Virtual, the largest virtual reality conference in Europe. Watch out for it to hit stores in Tokyo soon.
Prototype still in development (

Hunter Boots
four: Hunter Boots, the original ‘green Wellies,’ are gaining popularity in Japan. Named after the Duke of Wellington’s original pair, they have been keeping feet dry since 1856. Founded in Scotland, the boots successfully fuse style and substance. The tell-tale red and white logo and styling is a fixture at British country and music festivals, and it has now also made a new home for itself in urban Tokyo.
Select outdoor stores and, ¥15,750.

Hunter Wellies boots
five: The lace-up version of Hunter Wellies is lower cut and easier to remove, and shows that the once traditionalist company is branching out with a whole host of new boot designs. Look for new limited-edition collaborations with red carpet designer Jimmy Choo coming soon to Japan.

Select outdoor stores and, ¥17,850.

Gore-Tex shell jacket

six: Packable into a tiny bag, this tear-proof Gore-Tex shell jacket is available in six colors, and is perfect for the wet season. For complete rain protection, don the matching trousers and face the elements. While it may not win points with the trendsetters while walking down Omotesando, this set nonetheless ensures wearers will be dry and comfortable head to toe. Bring on the rainy season!

The North Face stores across Japan (, ¥37,800.

All photos courtesy of their respective brands or retailers