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Irenisa Tokyo Spring 2024

After a successful debut show, this season Irenisa’s Yu Kobayashi and Yuji Abe took a step back and presented their collection digitally. Their theme was iroke, or sex appeal, which meant outerwear and blazers were shown unbuttoned or sleeveless to reveal skin, tuxedo dress shirts looked at once sharp and louche, and collars were slightly popped by design.

If there is a touch of rakishness in the final result, Abe and Kobayashi got there through precision and rigor. Experienced pattern-makers, they spent the last several months developing impressive cuts and fabrics—notably a cotton tweed with a vertical (or sometimes horizontal) texture, that they achieved by weaving eight separate types of thread into a single fabric and then dyeing it in a rare process by an artisan in Kyoto, an upgrade on last season’s dyed corduroy.

The innovative approach to fabric and complex pattern work is Irenisa’s bread and butter, and the duo are aware of this USP. “People have been impressed by the fabrics and patterns. After all, we make most of the original fabrics and draw the patterns ourselves, and I don’t think there are many brands that do this on our scale. That’s definitely one of our strengths,” said Kobayashi.

Particularly impressive was an elegant leather jacket, which had been shaved down and cleverly bonded with jersey so that it was as light and comfy as a silk bomber. They also introduced a cotton T-shirt into the mix, but of course it was a special one. “We’d always wanted to make a T-shirt in an original fabric but hadn’t been able to before, so this was our first attempt,” said Kobayashi. You’d never tell. The fabric, he added, was created so that its touch and form “makes it feel less like wearing a T-shirt and more like wearing a dress,” making it particularly comfortable in hotter weather.

Herein lies the core charm of Irenisa’s clothes: They are made with utmost respect for the wearer. You might think of what the brand does as a kind of fashion omotenashi, or mindful hospitality. Like a waiter that will top up your glass without you ever noticing, Abe and Kobayashi work fastidiously to make sure that each armhole is shaped perfectly, that each fold of fabric falls just so. Shrug on that aforementioned leather jacket, and you wonder why all your clothes don’t contour on the body so effortlessly.

“Our starting point isn’t mathematical; it’s more like sculpture,” explained Abe. “I see clothes in 3D, so they are beautiful from the side and from the front, and no matter who wears them, they fit beautifully.” Indeed they do.



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