5 Sustainable Japanese Fashion Brands To Check Out | CoolJapan

Interest in sustainable fashion has been growing in recent years. It has come a long way from being a niche interest to a mainstream one. And yet, even with the increased attention, truly sustainable fashion brands are still a challenge to find. But worry not, we’re here to help. If you’re on the hunt for new pieces and want to go the sustainable route (or expand your sustainable fashion directory), you might want to check out these sustainable Japanese fashion brands.

I Was A Kimono

Most kimonos are pieces of excellent craftsmanship, but even the most well-made kimono can deteriorate over time. Since it would be a waste to just discard a piece that’s made from quality materials, I Was A Kimono upcycles the textile and gives it a new life by transforming it into new fashion items like stylish masks, bag charms, hair bands, and earrings. Aside from that, some kimono textiles are also used in home decor items as trimmings.

What We Love: These kimono vintage masks with unique designs (JPY1,800-3,200/~USD 17-30). Some of the pieces are even made with luxurious upcycled silk kimono textile which is said to be more comfortable on the skin.


Named after the Japanese word that means “eternity” or “everlasting”, KUON’s ethos as a brand revolves around creating beautiful things that will stand the test of time. To achieve this, they’ve partnered with local artisans that are familiar with intricate clothing techniques. Their Sakiori fabric (old torned fabric pieces weaved together) is made in collaboration with differently abled people and they also partnered with Otsuchi Sashiko Project to upcycle Boro fabrics (patchwork) with Sashiko technique (ancient Japanese hand sewing technique to make geometric patterns). If you’re curious to know more about their sustainable practices, you can check out the details — including the wages paid — here.

What We Love: These ICHIMATSU Pajama Pants (JPY27,500/~USD251) that feature chic checkered patterns. The relaxed yet snug fit is perfect for lounging at home yet the design is polished enough that you don’t need to change if you have a surprise visitor or need to do a quick errand outside. It can also be a great cover-up for beach trips.


Most of us don’t realise that industrial waste can still be upcycled. Would you believe that things like discarded seat belts, flooring materials and cotton scraps can still have a new life as part of a bag? Modeco shows that it’s possible. This sustainable Japanese fashion brand creates sturdy, stylish bags out of “trash” to reduce overall waste. Their bestselling Fireman bag is made from old firefighting uniforms and some still carry burnt marks that were cleverly utilised as part of the design. As the materials are limited, most of the bags are currently out of stock.

What We Love: Since the fireman bag is yet to be restocked, we’ve set our eyes on the Piccolo/Vintage Oak Flooring Handbag (JPY33,000/~USD301). It’s made from upcycled wood grain flooring material that gives the bag a chic, earthy touch.


If you’re all for basics, tennen is a sustainable Japanese fashion brand that you shouldn’t miss out on. They advocate for clothing that will eventually “return to the Earth” and not pollute it. As such, tennen’s products are made with natural materials like cotton and wool — from the fabric to the sewing threads used. The team behind the brand is also continuing to innovate with new recycling techniques like learning how to properly break down old fabrics and upcycle cotton to incorporate it into new clothing.

What We Love: This Cotton Merino Crew sweater (JPY18,700/~USD171). It’s made from natural materials so it’s comfortable. The minimalistic design can pair well with any other piece as well. If you happen to visit Japan, you can drop by their stores. Unfortunately, online delivery is currently available only in Japan. However, you may inquire for special delivery arrangements from official international stockists like Zozo Japan.

Yeah Right!!

While sustainable fashion is dominated by minimalist and earthy aesthetic, it’s also possible to find brands with colourful pieces like Yeah Right!!. Keita Kawamura and Michiko Imura, the duo behind this sustainable Japanese fashion brand, have been flipping vintage pieces since 2005 and continue to do so to this day. They have made entire collections from preloved items sourced from secondhand dealer partners. On their website, they shared that they select each piece, wash it, disassemble it and make it into new unique frankensteine-d clothing.

What We Love: Each item is unique and has its own characteristics. Some that caught our eye are this patched up flower robe (JPY38,500/~USD351) made from contrasting fabrics, these laced wide-legged pants (JPY38,500/~USD351), and this patchwork cap (JPY13,200/~USD121). If you see one that you love and you’re sure that you want to get it, you have to be fast in adding it to your cart as it can sell out in a few days and the pieces are one-off and limited.