What To Know About Japanese Clothing Label BEAMS | CoolJapan

What comes to mind whenever you think about Japanese fashion? Do you relate it to the gyaru or Lolita aesthetic, or are you reminded of the country’s most respected designers, such as Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto? Beyond Japan’s popular fashion subcultures and talented high-fashion heroes, there are also a few other major forces in the country who are quietly shaping the way we think about stylish living.

Meet BEAMS, an all-encompassing Japanese fashion chain and label which has spent the last four decades or so curating products that effectively captivate the style-conscious consumer. From clothing and accessories to interior decoration and furniture, the label began from humble beginnings with a small store in Harajuku, Tokyo before becoming an established name in fashion with presence in major cities such as Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and New York. Keen to find out more? Here are three important things you should know about BEAMS. 

Their solid lineup of cross-brand collaborations

From teaming up with New Balance in ‘resurrecting’ one of the shoe label's running shoe designs to releasing a capsule collection with British heritage brand Fred Perry, BEAMS has had a strong foothold in the streetwear market due to its success in producing frequent, yet highly anticipated cross-brand collaboration collections. That being said, the result of the label’s collaborations are largely far from flashy. Take one of their most talked-about collaborations in 2020 as an example, where they partnered with Birkenstock to launch the latter’s classic Arizona sandal in two new shades of taupe and grey — much to fans of the sandal brand's surprise.

Made of luxurious suede material, the sandal’s silhouette remains unchanged, with it sporting Birkenstock’s branding alongside tonal hardware on the shoe’s signature double strap. The design changes made to the products are hardly life-changing, but BEAMS continues to garner a huge following for its products as it possesses the ability to elevate the ‘everyday’ in a way that appeals to the consumer.

Their 'in-house' fashion influencers

Fashion brands are known for working with bloggers and celebrities to help publicise their latest collections, but BEAMS’ online ‘records’ in this aspect seem close to none. On the contrary, its own staff have unintentionally become ‘influencers’ in their own right; they’ve earned an army of followers over the years for their stylish sense of dressing.

Case in point: Shuhei Nishiguchi (above, right), who’s spotted with fellow tastemaker Tomoyoshi Takada of Colony Clothing during 2018’s Pitti Uomo, a bi-annual trade show of men’s clothing and accessory collections which is held in Italy. With over 100,000 followers on Instagram, the label’s menswear director has masterfully incorporated BEAMS’ latest wares into his personal style and showcased the versatility of the label’s pieces. Who better to represent the label than its own employees? It’s one of the most effective kinds of endorsements, dare we say.

Their expansive range of private labels

BEAMS started out as a purveyor of stylish goods which embodied the East Coast American lifestyle. Two years after the opening of its first-ever store in Harajuku in 1976, BEAMS launched its first private label, BEAMS F, which specialised in European casual wear for men. To date, BEAMS has a whopping two dozen private labels under its care, including BEAMS BOY (above), which caters to women who are fond of men’s fashion, and BEAMS RECORDS, its very own music label and music merchandise brand. In short, BEAMS is more than a particular style of clothing, but a lifestyle.

(Cover photo from: @beams_official

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