Year of Creation: 2005 (first collection: 2007)
London based brand Komakino is operated by a husband and wife team: Italian Federico Capalbo and South Korean Jin Kim. Both have a history in fashion: Capalbo is a graduate of Central Saint Martins in London and Kim has previously worked for Alexander McQueen.
Komakino as a brand have a wide range of inspirations. Earlier collections carried a more stereotypically streetwear look but as the brand developed, a growing military presence has become apparent in their later work. A continuous theme that has carried throughout Komakino’s design is the stark contrast used in their designs; colours tend to be limited in number and there is a reoccurring usage of stark, abrupt visual elements.
- Named after the 1980 single, Komakino, from British band Joy Division. The word in Japanese is also used to refer to a specific type of dance that is designed to induce a trance like effect on the viewer.
- Style inspired by the bold, imposing, brutalist architectural styles of the twentieth century favoured by Soviet and certain fascist regimes.
- Heavily influenced by a range of different subcultures: including early rave culture, skateboarding and industrial music.
There is a strong continuous theme of iconography used throughout Komakino’s collections. Often boldly emblazoned, these icons have comes from a range of cultural sources; from paganism to anarchism. Take the SS09 collection which used Pagan style icons and turned them into a range of designs. Political imagery has been used across multiple collections and references political style designs woven onto garments, much like those used in the punk movement. See the SS14 collection for a fairly recent example of this.
Musical influence has played a large role in influencing Komakino, as Capalbo has explained in interviews. As well as the clear naming link to Joy Division, other genres of music have had a creative influence upon Komokino’s designs. The early rave scene, acid house and related music formed much of the creative drive behind their AW13 collection. Industrial music has served as a particularly heavy influence. Bands such as Coil and Throbbing Gristle are referenced throughout their collections. Their SS11 video features unreleased material from Coil member Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson, more on that here.
- Levi’s Korea – in 2007 the brand collaborated with the Korean division of Levi’s to create a range of graphic t-shirts.
- Opening Ceremony – during 2012 Komakino worked with the retailer to produce a selection of sportswear.
- 2013 short interview by Lynn and Horst with Federico Capalbo about the brand and its relation to music, the visual arts and ongoing themes.
- Dazed Digital speak to Capalbo during 2012 about his SS13 collection and its skateboarding influence. Also mentions the military theme used in past collections and redesigning basketball shorts.
- Hint Magazine interview Capalbo in 2012 about musical influence, film and style.
- Brief 2009 interview from the Vauxhall Fashion Scout with Capalbo about the beginnings of the brand and its inspirations.
- Dazed Digital conduct a short interview with Komakino in 2007 – mostly centred London Fashion Week.
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