John Lawrence Sullivan is a Japanese menswear brand inspired by the legendary American boxer of the same name. It is founded and designed by Arashi Yanagawa, a self-trained designer who creates impeccable clothing for men after moving on from a glorious career as a professional boxer . It already sounds like a wonderful story worthy of the silver screen.
Needless to say, like the celebrity surrounding the sportsman who lent his name to the brand, the menswear label is also a star studded affair with various celebrity fans such as Yusuke Iseya and Matsumoto Jun.
In general, Japanese fashion tends to veer towards the spirit of the streets; no one sets the rules and the wild deconstruction of formality is an untamed beast. It’s a polarizing sight; you either cringe or marvel at the originality.
With John Lawrence Sullivan, Yanagawa attempts to bring this deconstruction of formality into a different arena. And yet, the aggressive temperament is not lost; watching a Sullivan show is like seeing a monster restraint by impeccable tailoring and a harmonious colour palette on the runway. And like a good boxing match, it is intense but dignified, a precisely choreographed exhibition of the grace of force and vice versa.
Their A/W 2012-13 collection is a tour-de-force of street influences such as quirky proportions (jackets that don’t go beyond the hip), hippy tendencies (baggy pants and pajamas) with a counter punch of sinister opulence (a down vest in jewel tone or a leather jacket in gold). The heavy handed women’s wear influence (a signature of Yanagawa’s recent works) also seems to work all too well here (the sharp shoulders and the drop crotch pants).
The brand has also launched a women’s wear collection that is similarly drool-worthy, albeit on a smaller scale.
I’m a big fan already and can’t wait for what’s up next. With the brand, it’s always been about fighting the good fight. And those are definitely worth looking out for.
Next time you visit Tokyo, don’t forget to check out their stores near Naka-Meguro (find out more here).