“I don’t want the world to see me as a Japanese designer; I want them to see me in person,” Yohei Ohno said at a Shibuya gallery’s fall presentation. It’s an understandable outcry, especially considering how guilty the fashion press is of banning designers based on their origins. This season Ohno aims to break free from that confinement, with a collection inspired by his unique take on clothing, creating “ordinary yet lovely pieces.”
This implies an approach by someone decidedly eccentric who deliberately goes against what Ohno calls his vision of “mainstream” luxury. Although brand new in production and design, it is an impressionistic interpretation of worn vintage clothing. There were turtleneck wrap coats, miniskirts in sturdy cotton that recalled military uniforms, and patterned sequined slips. Ohno doesn’t like the tedium of ubiquitous T-shirts, so he makes a fun T-shirt-shaped tote, or a fancy turtleneck printed with purple zigzag lightning bolts, reminiscent of a metal band you might pick up at a thrift store T-shirt.
The brand launched shoes for the first time this season, and invited shoe designer Ikue Enomoto to help. The heels are made from sheepskin and feature tubular details on the sides for a futuristic and industrial feel. These distinctive curves—which also appear on utilitarian dresses and nylon leggings—were inspired by the armrests of Cassina chairs (Ohno is a fan of furniture design).
Taking sci-fi designs from industrial products and turning them into wearable clothing is something Ohno is particularly good at. He has more room to push that, and to temper and twist his introspection and contrarianism, respectively. You can see Yohei Ohno’s work a mile away. He’s a unique designer, and he’s at his best when he leans into that eccentricity.