Onitsuka Tiger: Japanese layers redefined

Peel back Onitsuka Tiger’s Autumn/Winter 23 offerings and you will find a collection that is layered in every sense. With a theme of “urban layering”, the brand’s latest pieces showcased at Milan Fashion Week revealed that designer Andrea Pompilio was in fact inspired by the Japanese tradition of dressing in layers

“Dressing in layers is a central part of Japanese culture,” said Onitsuka Tiger of the collection. “The act of wearing a kimono is part of a ritual performed by superimposing garments of different weights, from the very light underwear to the actual kimono, which are then closed by a wide belt.”

It is a tradition that Onitsuka Tiger has matched with oversized and flowing tailoring (another Japanese fashion tradition) for its Autumn/Winter 2023. When filtered through Onitsuka Tiger’s sporty lens, the result is a collection that maintains an active spirit while maintaining its focus on an urban aesthetic.

We see oversized coats made of needle-punched crafted faux fur; tailored coats made of cosy melton with see-through effects and visible padding detail on the back adorned with large knitted martingales; as well as short coats in a relaxed silhouette with a shawl collar design. The label shares that crisp melton is used for oversized three-button jackets and coats.

We also spy mega anoraks with eye-catching volume presented as special items for the show, a result of their collaboration with Zanter, famous for producing the first domestic down-filled outerwear as a pioneer of down wear in Japan. With more than 60 years of experience, Zanter has supplied work down wear to the Antarctic expedition and various exploration teams since 1956. Premium quality virgin down is used for the filling, with down-proof processing applied to prevent the feathers from poking through the fabric.

These items can be worn on top of each other to make a voluminous, but not bulky, silhouette. The look is complemented by layering bottoms, namely baggy trousers made of nylon and melton, or quilted chiffon shorts with see-through padding layered over precious boxer shorts.

On the other end of Onitsuka Tiger’s collection, there are close-fitting, almost downhill suits. We also get giant turtlenecks made of mohair-touch knit; lightweight quilted chiffon see-through shirts with visible padding, a detail that also is found as an embellishment on outerwear; ribbed, tight silhouette tank tops; and more. Onitsuka Tiger integrates sash belts and drawstrings to the waist of georgette and chiffon dresses to bring out the femininity via flowing silhouettes, in both long and short lengths.

Despite the maximal volume in a lot of the designs, we note a minimalism when it comes to the colour palette of this new collection. Most are in shades of grey or beige, with the occasional flash of pumpkin orange to spice it up.

Footwear is a signature item for Onitsuka Tiger. On this front, they have truly put the emphasis on the “urban” in their theme. We spot ankle and below-the-knee leather boots or trainers that evolve into outdoor-style shoes hybridised by partially hollowed soles. These are branded with the new Onitsuka Tiger logo with a more bold lettering in yellow and black, the brand’s signature colours clearly derived from the big cat in its name.

You can watch the show on Onitsuka Tiger Official Instagram and YouTube channel.

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