The world of the Takumi has always been a fascinating one. The idea that you can have such a firm and unwavering focus on your craft, often for decades, takes what you do and makes it an inherent part of who you are. The title of Takumi – bestowed only upon recognised and worthy masters in their field – is the Holy Grail for Japanese craftsmen. Tokkou embraces this principle and with our own unique touches, we’re setting out to modernise Japanese artistry.
The Takumi become so good at what they do – so specialised – that their art becomes second nature. It’s intuitive. It’s consistent. And while this is a powerful element in areas such as Japanese watchmaking, it sets limits on what can be done in creative industries like fashion. It inhibits innovation. This is one reason that here at Tokkou, we have made it our mission to break down boundaries and combine traditional Japanese craftsmanship with out-of-the-box designs.
Challenging the Norm
As London’s leading Japanese clothing brand, Tokkou is forging its own unique aesthetic, creating forward-thinking styles that stay true to the traditional and hugely important role that the concept of Takumi plays in the rich Japanese history. We are reintroducing the somewhat lost, often romanticised notion of rebellion by going above and beyond what’s expected in a culture known for its compliance and obedience.
What better way to showcase this rebellious side than by taking inspiration from Japan’s original rebels: the Bosozoku? The notorious biker gang is famed for shunning traditional clothing in favour of Americanised military-style jackets, big boots, round sunglasses, and the COVID-era’s favourite accessory: the surgical mask.
East Meets West
Ultimately, Tokkou is rooted in fusion; in bringing together concepts that shouldn’t work together – like contemporary design and traditional craftsmanship – but do. All to create designs which others may never have thought possible. Our exclusive garments embrace the differences – and indeed the many similarities – between east and west to create unique collections that allow people across the world to celebrate and honour exquisite Japanese artistry.
Tokkou’s designs are undoubtedly styled after the Tokko-Fuku; the original uniform of the Bosozoku. Yet in its clothing, we see so much more. We see hints of the greaser culture in the United States, and bursts of London’s 1970s punk scene. We see Japanese culture standing side by side with one of the most iconic symbols of classic Americana: Denim.
Introducing Fusion Fashion
While fast fashion may be taking over the world, we have created a different, more sustainable trend to lead us into the future: fusion fashion. In fact, we’re sparking a future of fusion by combining traditional, deeply ingrained denim production practices with new cuts, new fits, and cutting edge designs that set out to challenge the status quo.
Tokkou mixes a consideration for international trends, styles, and cultures with the delicate embroideries, intricate pattern making, and quality materials Japan has become known for. This is especially true of our denim products, which are sourced and handcrafted in Japan’s denim capital of Okayama in the Chūgoku prefecture.
Small, rural, and bursting with 16th century architecture, Okayama is an unlikely birthplace of Japanese jeans. But with a community of Takumi specialising in indigo dyeing, the city became the natural production hotspot as denim shot to popularity in the 1960s. Today, complex, time-consuming Okayama production processes are considered to be the industry benchmark, delivering quality that cannot be replicated.
Embracing History, Welcoming the Modern
Fashion is a creative industry, and we see so much potential in what we can do, and where we can go from here. Yet, we’re not ready to close the door on what has been. This plays a huge role in how we operate at Tokkou. We’re passionate about the contemporary, and supporters and facilitators of innovation, but our aim is to help design evolve without watching a wonderful and rich culture slip through our fingertips.
That’s why our customers will find that all of the Kanji carefully embroidered onto our clothing has a meaning, helping to bring Japanese Bosozoku subculture into the everyday. Ranging from motivational Bosozoku sayings to Japanese punk era sayings, every one of our customers is helping to keep history alive through their fashion choices.
Breaking the Mould
When many people think of Japanese fashion, they think of traditional and beautiful kimonos, the hair raising Harajuku styles, or the kawaii prints. At Tokkou, we want to showcase the more unexplored side of Japanese clothing, inspired by the defiant, shaped by the bold, and influenced by both local history and international trends. We want to highlight that edgy, breakaway side of Japanese culture – the more elusive subculture – and empower everyone to celebrate our country’s incredible artistry.
We’re so proud to be achieving our goal of bringing fusion fashion to the world. But we’re not done yet. At Tokkou, we have a vision. And that vision is to make fusion fashion more sustainable than ever before. There’s a lot still to come, and we’re incredibly excited to be working with incredible suppliers to introduce new sustainable materials and traditional Japanese fabrics into our designs in the very near future.