Onitsuka Tiger

When it comes to shoe design I’d have to say that one of my absolute favourites has to be Japanese shoe company Onitsuka Tiger.

These awesome shoes have been around for many years and have become an icon in the Japanese shoe design industry.
While they have been around for an age overseas, SA is only now identifying with this brand and accepting its overwhelming brilliance.

Some of you may remember the bright yellow sneakers that Uma wore in Kill Bill which come from Onitsuka Tigers range called Mexico 66…which is instantly recognisable by its side stitched panels.

Onituska Tiger has been around since the 1940’s where it first appeared after the Second World War, when a military officer decided to start a company that would boost the morale of the Japanese youth through sport.

The very first shoe designed was supposed to be for the basketball court, however the design was seen as a flop by many and it never took off, it was only in 1952 that the shoe was redeveloped and became widely used throughout Japan.

In the years after this Onitsuka Tiger worked on developing highly comfortable and effective athletic shoes for all sectors of sport, from running to martial arts.

It was only in 1977 that Onituska merged their considerable power with 2 other companies, those being GTO and Jelenk.

From then onwards this triumvirate of power went by the name Asics, which is an acronym for “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano”….which means A sound mind in a sound body.

Even though Onitsuka Tiger has become Asics, the company still holds true to its original credo of quality and produces a vintage line of shoes (such as the Mexico 66) which are sold worldwide and have become something of a “trendy” choice in footwear.

It’s cool that accompany that has become as huge as Asics still produces a product that is timeless and holds true to its original Onitsuka Tiger heritage.

You can find Onitsuka tiger shoes pretty much in any major shopping centre, just recently I spotted a wide range at YDE, but you can also check out sports shops, who usually have a style or two.

Onitsuka Tigers are definitely my favourite Japanese shoe…no contest.

All I can say is that I’m glad he isn’t up a ladder today….in fact I don’t think I’d let him up a ladder today even if he had to.

Seriously, all we need right now is for Dave to pull a “Superman” and get blasted down the road and end up head first in somebody’s pasta at Primi.

Luckily Dave has sharp reflexes because painting in the wind requires nimble cat like skills and the ability to paint with only one eye open.

However Dave being a true trooper is still battling the elements to hopefully complete the first design by the end of the day….fingers crossed.

I can’t wait for the next design to be started….we are still deciding on what piece to use, but I’m all for the awesome Bamboozled design by Darko….or perhaps Blast Off ROAR from Quack.

There are so many awesome designs to choose from that we just don’t know where to start *ponder ponder*.

What do u guys think….what design would you like to see on the outside wall of the Springleap Factory Store??

Also don’t forget to spare a thought for Dave as he’s out there in the wind trying to bring happiness to the Sea Point area….he’s gonna need all the help he can get let me tell you.

Tatsuro Horikawa Fashion

Today I thought we should look at an international fashion designer who is making huge waves in his home country and even internationally.

His unique dark gothic style has gained serious reputation and grows a cult following.

This progressive Japanese designer goes by the name Tatsuro Horikawa and runs the up and coming Julius fashion label.

So, how to define Tatsuro Horikawas’ Julius style.

Basically, in a nutshell his style is made up of primarily dark colours (predominantly black), which are expressed in flamboyant gothic formations.

One would think that that with just the use of black the designs would be limited and seemingly blend together into a blur, however his attention to detail and varied use of texture ensures that each piece of clothing has its own voice.

Tatsuro Horikawa started his first design company back in 96’ which was called Third Stone, the year after his first fashion label called Nuke was launched and did extremely well, that was until the rise of his next project called Julius which actually started as an art project which dealt with presenting audio and visual presentations for fashion collections and a host of different art shows.

The Julius label then exploded from there and became a full on fashion project that is inspired with the creativity and innovation of Horikawa.

The Spring/Summer collection of 2004 was the first amalgamation of both the Julius clothing and their considerable audio/visual might, which was showcased during the Tokyo Collection.

These days Tatsuro Horikawa and his Julius brand are a mainstay of the Japanese fashion scene and has even branched out to the rest of the world causing quite a stir with his more outlandish dark gothic style.

Tatsuro has more recently become a newcomer to the Paris fashion scene and has seemingly fallen in line with the androgyny of the latest European styles, that is he and the other top designers like Yves Saint-Laurent have begun blurring the line between what is stereotypically men’s and women’s fashion.

Tatsuro dressed his models in extra long tunics and used see through material for their shirts, which gave an extremely feminine touch to the rest of his typical style which we can consider very manly, such as aviator hats and big fat biker boots.

So much like Yves Saint-Laurent, Julius has started introducing fabrics that have started to open up the fashion market and perhaps influence styles in the future that will see men wearing such fabrics as silk voile on a regular basis.
I don’t see this style becoming mainstream for the next few years, indeed down here in SA these kinds of looks you may only be able to get away with in Cape town, and even then it would be at select functions and open minded environments.

Tatsuro Horikawa may not be well known down here in South Africa just yet, but just wait, his dark gothic style will soon creep down here and make its influence felt.

Horikawa insists that his designs are not only something to compliment a person’s wardrobe, but the person themselves…perhaps it’s quite a pretentious statement in some philosopher’s eyes, but for a person who defines themselves through the fashion they wear…perhaps it’s just their cup of tea….or rather dark black coffee.

Keep an eye out for Julius fashion with its hard (yet soft) lines and attitude.

What about all you fashion gurus out there….is Tatsuro Horikawas style just a rehash of a rehash…or is there something more to this Japanese fashion staple?