Year of Creation: 2001
Japanese brand the Viridi-anne was founded by Tomoaki Okaniwa after studying at the University of Fine Arts in Tokyo. Prior to creating the brand, Okaniwa gained much experience of clothes design and manufacture in creating clothing for himself – as during his time as a student, he had little disposable income.
- Okaniwa, a lover of art, sees his designs as a wearable art form.
- Earlier Viridi-anne designs were loosely based around the concept of wabi-sabi: the Japanese perspective of finding beauty in flaws and imperfection.
- Viridi-anne designs are known for their inclusion of small detailing on fabrics and inclusion of features such as hooks.
- All clothes from the line are manufactured in Japan – mostly in a range of small output studios across the country.
Okaniwa has said that the importance of the practicality of Viridi-anne garments is an increasingly important aspect of his work. Aspects such as wearability and longevity of specific types of materials are a cornerstone for his more recent designs. Like many other fashion designers, this has meant a large amount of time spent planning and organising the types of material to utilise.
Okaniwa enjoys experimenting with different fabrics – especially organic materials. He has previously mixed a wide range of organic fabrics together including combinations of bamboo with paper and linen, silk & cotton. He has mentioned that thin woven fabric are his favourite to use, due to their versatility combined with supple feel.
International and European Influences
Whilst a Japanese brand, Viridi-anne takes a wide international scope in terms of its cultural inspirations. Okaniwa has stated that he does not feel assimilated with the Japanese fashion scene, instead preferring to look abroad for fresh concepts. This viewpoint includes Okaniwa avoiding Japanese fashion magazines and the Japanese streetwear scene.
Out of all continents, Okaniwa holds specific closeness to Europe. Showing Viridi-anne collections in Paris has meant that the brand is frequently compared to others from Italy and Belgium, amongst others.
Okaniwa is heavily influenced by the punk subculture and specifically British punks. British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was a key name in the punk clothing fashion scene of the seventies and eighties, which led to the inclusion of elements such as spikes, straps and torn fabrics in designs. This influence can be seen in some items from the Viridi-anne where aggressive styling in incorporated into its work. It is also worth noting that the punk scene has a strong link to DIY clothing, an area in which Okaniwa has experience from making clothes for himself whilst studying.
Coming from an artistic background, Okaniwa has maintained his passion for the visual arts and at all times tries to keep these interweaved with his fashion design. Specific artists he has mentioned in interviews include: Leonard (Tsuguharu) Fujita whom Okaniwa sees as the first international Japanese artist and Christian Boltanski, a French sculptor.
- Scoute Magazine speaks to Tomoaki Okaniwa about his background in arts, his views on fashion, the creation of Viridi-anne and his international inspirations.
- AW12 – Nostalgia
- SS13 – Neither World
- AW13 – Chromatophore
- SS14 – Listlessness
- AW14 – Indivisible
- SS15 – Indirect Light
Stockists/Where To Buy
- Coming soon.