KUON Daiki Endo

KUON’s Spring 2021 collection was inspired by KACHŌFŪGETSU, the traditional Japanese aesthetic discipline, which goes back to the 1400s. The term refers to the appreciation for the beauty and specialness of nature. As with the concept of wabi from wabi-sabi, it is a philosophy about the enjoyment of the present moment. For Spring 2021, Ishibashi continues to explore the traditional Japanese techniques of boro, sashiko, and sakiori, by creating his own versions with cotton floral patchwork and mixed cotton patchwork boro, as well as digital prints of sakiori and boro whose allure is enhanced by technology and allows the fabrics to be lighter. He also introduces a new fabric with washi paper made from wood pulp and polyolefin which not only gives it suppleness but also makes it water-resistant and durable. While KUON’s viewpoint stems from the remembrance of the past as experienced in the present, and Ishibashi’s interest may reside in the ancient techniques of Japan, the silhouettes of the pieces are based on traditional English tailoring and American sportswear. Some of the styles highlighted this season are softer versions of Chesterfield coats, unlined sport coats, flat-front trousers, and soft, loose-fitting trousers with a drawstring waist.

The word KUON means eternity, that which is everlasting, as well as the remembrance of the past as experienced in the present. The choice of this word is relevant to Ishibashi as the two pivotal techniques often used in the collection are boro patchwork and sashiko stitching, as well as modern developments of traditional Japanese techniques and materials. KUON continues to collaborate with local manufacturing and craftsmen to make clothing that combines design with its unique set of skills. As a result, Ishibashi is able to share his knowledge about fashion, while learning the history and expertise of his counterparts. This exchange has provided an edge for KUON, enabling the brand to rapidly gain recognition.

In mid-September, KUON will open its first boutique in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. The store is in a traditional 2-story row house called Nagaya. The exterior and interior designs of the shop, realized by Osaka based design firm Kanome, derive from a made-to-order Kimono shop. The shop will also feature an entryway with gravel and stepping- stones that reminds a Japanese garden.

KUON is distributed in more than 40 stores including Isetan, Beams and Bay Cruise in Japan, Machus in Portland, SKP in Beijing, Initial in Shanghai, JUICE, and many more.  

KUON has been praised for the way they approach the subject of sustainability from the perspective of fashion, art, and materials. KUON was honored with the Tokyo Fashion Award in 2018 and was invited to show their collection at Shibuya Hikarie during Amazon Fashion Week TOKYO in 2018. KUON was also recognized at NHK WORLD “TOKYO FASHION EXPRESS,” as well as the only Japanese brand represented at Isetan Shinjuku Men’s Hall with the Boro Jacket.

After graduating from Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, Ishibashi went on to work under a master tailor in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo, before beginning his collection in 2016. He often uses the Boro patchwork and Sashiko stitching techniques in his collection. 

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