Loyal Third Looks visitors may remember my post last year about the street-style blog Otomayim B Dipper. The site is run by my friend Ryo Miyamoto, who takes all the photos for his site personally. I started running into Ryo at fashion and art events all around the city and quickly noticed his knack for putting together really creative outfits. While I had some idea that he was a stylish dude, shooting this style profile with him really convinced me that Ryo is on a whole ‘nother level.
Many people thrift shop to find cheap items. A few mix vintage with designer items really well to create their own highly personal style. Ryo mixes things in ways I had never seen or even considered. I’ll let the photos and his words speak for themselves.
You mentioned to me that your style has evolved a lot since you moved to New York. Can you speak about how it has developed since you moved from Japan?
I am from a tiny island called Okinawa, where most of U.S. military bases in Japan are located. Therefore, American culture was always around me. I moved to New York five years ago and at the time, hip-hop and R&B were my big interests. I wore a New Era cap, an Adidas track jacket, Dickies baggy pants, and white Nike Air Force 1 sneakers. I did not know what YSL stood for and I barely knew about Comme des Garçons. However, thanks to the kind people I have met, I gradually started learning about fashion and style. My style today came from all my friends around me. Hopefully, I can continue to learn from them and further develop my style and identity.
Issey Miyake hat
You are able to find very amazing vintage pieces at thrift stores. Do you have any advice on how to find such great pieces?
First, I browse colors and prints, then feel textures; then I look at the silhouettes. In this way, you can save your time and energy for the long journey of thrift-store shopping. If you are looking for something black—well, good luck because you have to feel the texture and check the silhouette of every single piece. I’ve basically given up on thrifting for black pieces because of this.
When you are shopping, do you just buy the individual pieces you love or do you buy things you know will fit into your wardrobe?
I often buy things that I think will fit into my wardrobe, but sometimes I do buy something completely new, hoping I can make it work. It sometimes works, but other times it is a disaster. I can do this only because it is a thrift piece—I spend 10 dollars and experiment with a new style. If it doesn’t work, I put it in the closet and pull it out next year and try it again.
More of this style profile (photos and answers) after the jump
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If you’re in the need of some affordable and stylish fall clothes be sure to hit up Uniqlo for pieces from the final Undercover collabo. Standout basics that I’ve handled are the t-shirts, jeans and sweatpants. For outerwear pieces the parka and down jackets are definitely worth the money. The leather jacket looks good in editorials like this one and online but I can’t bring it to myself to ever recommend pleather. Save yourself some money and check out the current UU sale at all three New York locations.
Images via Hudie.
Avid readers of Third Looks will know that one of my favorite designers is Jun Takahashi of Undercover. While the Spring/Summer collection of UU did not blow me away I was able to find a bunch of great wardrobe basics in the selection. This August will mark the release of the Fall/Winter 12/13 Uniqlo x UC collaboration and from what I can see it is a definite step up from the first collection. It seems that this collection parallels what Jun has been doing with his recent mainline UC collections (namely Open Strings and Psycho Color) in terms of texture and color palette. The outerwear is the strongest draw for me with the Utility coat(Warm lite liner), Body warm lite Padded jacket and Micro fleece hoodie being my standouts.
More photos (including the women’s and kids looks) are on the UU Collection Site as well as on Pinterest.
Top : Raf Simons SS05 Sleeveless , Number (N)ine Tank
Jeans : Robert Geller
Accessories : Robert Geller Sunglasses, Braided Bracelet, Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver bead bracelet
Shoes : Converse Chuck Taylor
When did you first start becoming interested in fashion and how did you develop that interest into a career?
I first became interested in style through music and skating. I have always drawn and been interested in design, my mom still has these line sheets I would make for skate brands I wanted to start when I was 13. I first got into the fashion industry managing a punk fashion store in DC called Commander Salamander.
I knew I wanted to work in fashion and I figured the best way to get started would be work at a cool shop. I kept working my way up through retail: buying (Deep Sleep Philadlphia, Urban Outfitters) and managing(Denim Bar Arlington. Odin New York) I was learning more about fashion and the business side of it over the years before I began working with Robert Geller as his design assistant. I now work freelance doing styling/wardrobe, graphic design and consulting. Working through the fashion industry the way I did I gained so much hands on experience working with every aspect of the business I’m very fortunate for this.
The greatest experience I’ve gained is through my time with Robert Geller it was an unparalleled experience: the hands on work, the nuances of design, the work required to succeed, the amount I learned was amazing. Working with some one like that in a close small team is something I felt helped me to grow so much.
Jacket : Raf Simons SS08 Blazer
Top : Robert Geller Button Up, Rick Owens Tank
Jeans : Robert Geller
Shoes : Robert Geller x Common Projects Zip Boot
How would you describe your personal style philosophy and the influences that helped inspire it.
I guess the philosophy to my personal style is just founded on wearing things I like by designers who’s aesthetic and ethos appeal to me. I have to believe in something to wear it, I don’t just wear a piece of clothing because it’s cool, that means nothing to me.
I need to feel a connection to the designer, their inspiration, and the construction. All of it is important. The influences of my personal style are ’80’s DC hardcore kids and Japanese street style. I’m pretty understated in my own look to be honest. I pretty much only wear jeans, tee shirts, sneakers and jackets.
You’ve worked as a stylist on many different jobs, what unique challenges does styling present? How has it broadened your perspectives on fashion?
The unique challenges of doing styling jobs are the various demands. It’s a very demanding profession with very little room for error on many jobs. Your working with time constraints, budget constraints, direction coming from different angles whether it be management, production, photographer/director, talent or your self. It’s a balancing act for sure. Styling requires you to always be on your toes and adjust your plan on the fly: concepts, dates these things all change out of the blue you have to be ready you can’t get flustered.
Having worked as a buyer and in sales I guess I’ve had a broad perspective on fashion. Working in different roles you see how different people view and react to fashion reguarly; those jobs helped give me a big upper hand in styling.
Do you do most of your clothes shopping online or in person?
I actually don’t shop much, I think I buy myself more stuff for soccer than clothing for every day. I guess I do buy more in person I like to have that tactile experience of handling the garments myself as well as the instant satisfaction of taking it home then and there.
Jacket : Robert Geller Moto Vest
Tops : Ann Demeulemeester Sleeveless Tee, Number (N)ine Tank
Jeans : UU Uniqlo x Undercover
Accesories : Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver bead bracelet , Braided Bracelet
Shoes : Undercover Chucks
How has your experience as a designer affected how you shop for yourself?
Being a designer affected my shopping a lot, it made me not want to at all really. I wouldn’t say it jaded me at all but I was fortunate to be able have many of the things I wanted because well we made them at Robert Geller. Designing really made me even pickier then I already was about clothing.
Top : Raf Simons AW04-05 Crewneck
Bottoms : Robert Geller Shorts
Shoes : Nike x Undercover Gyakusou Lunarspider +
Accessories : Robert Geller Sunglasses, Ann Demeulemeester Stud Belt, Nike ACG Camo Backpack, Vintage Japanese Sterling Silver bead bracelet , Braided Bracelet
What do you think about the current state of men’s fashion?
I think the current state of men’s fashion is just that its not inspiring. It’s been dull to me, the excitement and youth is gone. Men’s fashion has become a hashtag, an internet idea. Menswear to so many is based on what’s safe (what’s now considered cool): plaid button ups, chinos, loafers etc. Its not about ideas, fits or materials. The excitement of the early 2000’s when menswear really started to take risks and have a youthful edge is gone.
The other big issue I’ve been noticing is that there is so little middle ground, the avant garde have gone way out there and the heritage aesthetics has gotten to be a caricatures of themselves. In the early 2000s you saw Helmut, Heidi, and Raf really intertwine the avante garde design with classic beautiful menswear. For example when Helmut made a perfectly tailored black blazer with elastic bondage straps. That subtlety is gone and I miss it. The mystery and subversion is isn’t there any more, both camps are just trying to hit you over the head with their extremes.
GHSTS of NY.
Special Thanks to Paul Wax for the photography.
Words by Rocky Li
Photography by Paul Wax
The concept behind ‘It Girls’ has been in my head for some time. ‘It Girls’ are free-thinking, charismatic and stylish girls who unabashedly live life. Third Looks aims to bring these dynamic individuals to the forefront and document a point in their lives.
It Girls’ will be a regular feature on Third Looks profiling girls who if you haven’t heard of yet, you soon will.
The first ‘It Girl’ I am featuring is my friend Alyssa. We met at a apartment party I threw about two years ago and we’ve become good friends since. In that period I’ve watched her go from New School undergraduate student to the assistant of Amy Astley (Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue) and the contributors editor at the magazine. Her ambition and fierce independence are balanced by her disarming cheerful personality and quirky sense of humor. I’ve titled my shoot Brooklyn Spring as the fresh air and warm sun perfectly reflected the changing season.
I have always respected Alyssa’s ability to wear clothes her own way without regards to the trends of the moment. Having often commented that she loves my wardrobe and many men’s pieces in general, I decided to style her in some pieces from my personal wardrobe. When asked about her personal philosophy on style , she told me
“I think clothes have little to do with fashion– and almost nothing to do with style. It’s not a radical statement: style is innate. If clothes weren’t a social necessity, I probably wouldn’t wear them at all.”
You can find Alyssa on Twitter.
Undercoverism Rider Leather Jacket
Vintage Floral Dress (Alyssa’s own)
Supreme Camo Field Shirt
‘Internet Fame’ White T-shirt
Supreme ‘Metal-Plate’ Snapback
Supreme Paisley French Terry Hoody
Undercover x Uniqlo UU Cardigan
Number (N)ine ‘9-Lives’ T-shirt
Undercover x Uniqlo UU Hooded Blouson Jacket
Undercoverism Knit Sweater
J Brand Jeans (Alyssa’s own)
Supreme leopard backpack
Nike Free 2.0(Alyssa’s own)
See more photos from this shoot on the Third Looks Tumblr page.
Photography & Styling by Rocky Li
Previously Jun Takahashi had famously stated that he would never collaborate with a fast fashion retailer which pushed a system that he fundamentally disagreed with. Since then he has had a public change of heart when he agreed to create clothes for Japanese fast fashion giant UNIQLO. The UU collection has divided fans of Undercover. Some deriding the collaboration as a cash grab and others applauding the ability for Jun’s design sensibilities to reach a greater audience. Jun Takahashi spoke out and explained his rationale for working with UNIQLO on his blog on honyeee.
My thoughts on teaming up with UNIQLO
Since the announcement of this project, I have heard a lot of opinions, both pro and con. Some say they can’t make heads or tails out of UNIQLO’s intention in partnering with UNDERCOVER, and others say they are expecting to see something truly innovative come out of this collaboration of polar opposites. It is only natural to think that opinions would be divided.
More than a year ago, when I first heard this talk, I questioned this project; to be honest, my first thought was “Why us?” It may be my personality, but at the same time, I felt a combination of apprehension and curiosity. At first, just to satisfy my curiosity, I wanted to hear from the people in charge who were really passionate.
Talks began with the reason for the request from UNIQLO, “We want the creations for the Japanese to reach people around the world.” To which I replied, “What should I do?” “What can we accomplish?” “Do we have anything in common, and if so what?” As I asked these questions I found myself gradually becoming interested in this project. We had several more discussions, as a result of which, an idea popped up almost simultaneously from both sides: “clothes for mom, dad and the children; clothes for the family.” We had found our common ground.
As far as children’s clothing is concerned, as UNDERCOVER announced some 10 years ago, because we were unable to balance production volume and cost, we had to sadly give up. My wife, RICO, did the designing. RICO is really fabulous at creating children’s clothes. One of the main reasons why I decided to do this project and resume making children’s clothes was the fact that the line had so many fans. Another big reason was that I wanted to offer our creations to people who until now had never heard of UNDERCOVER. In this regard, we have a bigger footprint than other brands. It would be a wonderful thing to have many people wearing the clothes I had designed. Price-wise and design-wise UNDERCOVER clothing was not for everyone, but now it could be.
That said, if I made such clothes with strong design elements that I have always done, this collaboration would never have come about. The basic idea of Uniqlo is “low priced products everyone can wear.” The role of UNDERCOVER is to add a little spice to that basic principle. You might say that adding a “spoonful of spice” is what this project is all about.
Some people might say that this project is not what UNDERCOVER is about; then again others might say it’s “just right.” Everyone has their opinion, so there are of course going to be pros and cons. The results of my spoonful of spice on our collaboration can be seen on the “uu” site and in our catalog. Designs recognizable by everyone. I thought at that time, what design can I infuse in basic clothing? It’s not going to work if you add too much or remove too much. Where do you stop? The first season was in a manner of speaking a series of trials and errors. The selection of fabrics and colors, cost vs. design, how to stay balanced and edgy. It meant using a totally different headset than before to design clothes for uu that are completely different from UNDERCOVER. It was a really difficult task.
Now all the designs for the second season have been finished. For me, in the second season I was able to finally get a feel for the shape of this collaboration. Last week, we already held the second season individual color sample approval meeting. (The approval meeting is where all the key members of the project, starting with President Yanai, meet to hear an explanation of the new products.) After running through the product descriptions, President Yanai said, “Truly amazing, I’m really impressed!” Looking at the second season, it seemed to me that President Yanai could see the part UNDERCOVER had played in the collaboration. At that moment I felt the question “What should I do for Uniqlo?” was clearly answered. It would appear my idea to “add a spoonful of spice” had been accepted. (I don’t know if 100%, but I just might ask President Yanai the next time I see him).
Whether or not this collaboration will continue in the future has not been decided yet, but in any case a new page in my life has been written. As always, I try my best and never cut corners.
A new endevor for a new era.
A project only UNDERCOVER can undertake.
“We offer families something positive in these tough times.” That is the thinking behind uu designs. I sincerely hope your family enjoys our clothes.