Four Young Designers to Watch at Tokyo Fashion Week 2016

Kicking off on Monday (October 17), Tokyo Fashion Week is set to showcase 46 brands’ Spring/Summer 2017 collections over the course of six days.

The event is now in its 12th year and welcomes around 50,000 visitors each season. As Amazon Fashion takes the reins as new title sponsor, we decided to take a look at what else is new and fresh this season, and went on the hunt for the most interesting young fashion designers who’ll be showcasing their creations next week…

Carl Jan Cruz

Origin: Philippines
Since: 2014
Showtime: October 22 at 4pm with Asia Fashion meets Tokyo/Philippines, Hikarie Hall

About: Carl Jan Cruz describes his label, which he founded during his final year at London College of Fashion, as a “visual autobiography” that references significant moments in his life. This inner dialogue translates into an intriguing collection that conveys a bittersweet nostalgic feeling, while still being new and fashion forward. Each design is planned in detail – “designing and taking it apart and reforming it rigorously on repeat” – until that sleeve has just the right comfortable feeling and that fabric feels just like that garment from the past, with the aim of creating clothes that the wearer can connect to.

This is the designer’s first showing at Fashion Week. His introductory collection for Spring/Summer 2017 is based on the theme “Pause” (as in pause for introspection). We expect a truly thought-through and emotional collection.

Carl Jan Cruz. Photographer: Renzo Navarro. Styling: Melvin Mojica & Karen Bolilia. Models: Paulo Deoferio & Vince Crisostomo.

Leonard Wong

Origin: China
Runway – October 19, 8.30pm, Hikarie Hall. Exhibition – October 20-22, 11am-8pm, ARTnSHELTER hostel

About: China-born Leonard Wong moved to Tokyo in 2010 to pursue his dream of studying at Bunka Fashion College. He graduated three years later not only with an honors degree in his pocket but also as a winner of the Tokyo New Designer Fashion Grand Prix award. Wong’s collection will transport you directly into the future. His designs have been featured in Another magazine’s fashion and dance video project “Movement” where his clothes were worn by dance duo AyaBambi. This video also serves as the inspiration for his upcoming show, so we suspect the dance duo will play a major role in his presentation at Tokyo Fashion Week.

Wong’s goals are to match the success of luxury fashion leaders LVMH and Kering, and to increase the popularity of Asian fashion brands in the West. And he sure is making all the right moves – currently his brand is promoted on the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City’s Times Square.

tokyo fashion week

ACUOD by Chanu

Origin: Korea
October 17, 10.30am, Hikarie Hall
Lately Select Shop, 1-9-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

About: Founded by Chanwoo Lee, this brand’s name originates from the Japanese word “Douca,” which means “to synchronize” or “to assimilate.” In addition, ACUOD is also an acronym for “Ace Creation Unisex Original Dress.” All pieces can be worn by both men and women, and are almost exclusively black and white. The brand’s style lies somewhere between sportswear and dressy: formal shirts and coats meet oversized sweaters and sports jackets decorated with multifunctional zippers. You could easily imagine spotting Lee’s clothes on the streets of Harajuku as well as in chic Ginza.

The brand’s Tokyo Fashion Week collection is themed “Assimilate with Shirt,” and thus the dress shirt will be the focus of Spring/Summer 2017. You can also look forward to a live DJ performance during the show.

tokyo fashion week

Keisuke Yoshida

Origin: Japan
October 22, 11.45am, Miyashita Park

About: Even though, at 25, Keisuke Yoshida is among the youngest participants of Tokyo Fashion Week, this is already his fourth time presenting his collection on a catwalk. If you watch his last runway shows, you can tell he knows what he’s doing. In describing his brand’s concept, the designer says it’s about “adolescence, which is ambiguous, bright and dark, and the adolescent fashion of that time.” And you can feel it: the coming-of-age vibes, the breakfast club kind of attitude. In his past runway shows, models rocked oversized uniforms, grungy lumber-jacket shirts and punk rock leopard prints.

Although we’ve all seen clothes inspired by 90s fashion before, Yoshida’s collections seem authentic and far from kitsch, and just might evoke memories of your own emotional distress as a young adult. Even if you are long past the point of existential angst, Yoshida’s clothes will still appeal to anyone with even an ounce of rebel inside.

tokyo fashion week

For more information about Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo, visit

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