For Winter 2012, Junya Watanabe was inspired by the notion of physical work and his collection of practical garbs featured clothes suitable for the operational man. The invitation depicted tractors diggers and trains, and the catwalk presented men who required a no-nonsense approach to dressing.
Watanabe’s continual attraction to western work-wear, created leather patched shirts, overalls, pants and outerwear and paid homage to the man who likes manual labour. While no one can doubt the designer’s acute attention to detail and finely honed manufacturing skills, the new collection did not feel like much of a departure from the previous season.
Clothes that communicate a straightforward aesthetic are appealing in a cluster of ‘directional’ fashion, but Watanabe’s collections are becoming to feel somewhat repetitive. Watanabe’s vision is not without merit and his take on practical western clothing certainly sells, and appeals to his sturdy customer base. Perhaps expectations of innovation should be annulled during tough economic times – but if the Japanese can’t sell new idea in fashion – then who can?