Stein’s Kiichiro Asakawa calls himself a fanatic . The Japanese word itself is a transliteration of the English “maniac,” which more accurately means “fanatic” or “obsessed.” Case in point: This season’s half-nylon, half-powder bleached jeans are made by at least four separate factories—one that makes the denim, one that makes the bleach, one that makes the nylon, and one that stitches everything together.
These jeans are a great example of Asakawa’s uncompromising approach. “I have a strong desire to create exactly what I envision and eliminate anything that might interfere with it,” he says gleefully as he combs through the collection on the makeshift railway at Carroll (the Tokyo boutique he owns and operates) after closing for the day.
The theme this season was “linearity,” and Asakawa worked to examine the lines and boundaries of silhouettes, seams, and textiles—hence those paneled Four Factory trousers. . Most of the coats, the best of which were made from smooth vegetable-tanned leather and tightly woven wool gabardine, were embellished with metal studs on the sides or behind the neck for an industrial vibe, while the hardware-studded fishing vests were stylish without feeling derivative. The brand also debuted hoods and experimented with shorter jacket silhouettes instead of the long, flowy coats that Asakawa did so well (although there was still some of the latter to admire, held together elegantly with rope-thin straps).
The pictures in the look book do not fully reflect the charm of the clothes. They appear more expensive and stylish in real life, and are sure to be the back of many taste-conscious Tokyoites this spring. At least in terms of sheer retail appeal, Asakawa is currently a maniac worthy one.