An apprentice under the watchful eyes of COMME des GARCON founder Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe started out as a pattern maker in 1987, before working his way through the ranks at CDG to be given his own in-house label in 1993. It was from that point that Watanabe’s signature style flourished.

Hailed as ‘techno couture’, Junya mixes the traditional with the contemporary, the natural with the synthetic – to create collections that are vastly different from season to season. Although littered with the hallmarks of Kawakubo’s influence, the MAN label has it’s own, very distinct look and feel, with irregular touches such as random folding, pleats and patches mixed with strong, bold patterning and traditional silhouettes. The strong sense of tradition adds a grounding touch of humility and respect of heritage to a collection that is otherwise outlandish, making every unfaltering piece from the collection instantly wearable.

SS12 encapsulate the spirit of Watanabe MAN perfectly, with Junya’s signature ‘irregularity’ of design at the fore. From premium cotton shirting, through to waxed outerwear, this season’s collection is as bold as ever, yet ultimately still wearable, functional and practical. A balancing act that Watanabe manages better than anybody else.

Available now at END.