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Two Great Japanese Brands Right Now: Needles and JohnUNDERCOVER

We regularly look east all the way to Tokyo for style inspiration—in menswear especially, they're so ahead of the curve that by the time Japan's favorite trends blow west to New York, dudes in Asia have already moved on to something else. Today, we bring you lookbooks for two Japanese brands we definitely watch closely, even if their clothes aren't always easiest to get stateside.

Needles is the brainchild of Keizo Shimizu, the head honcho of the major Japanese fashion umbrella brand Nepenthes, which owns and distributes marquee labels like Engineered Garments. Season after season, they make dependably smart versions of crunchy, hippie-dippie styles, a super cool take on the flower child, earthy look that's always super popular in Tokyo. Imagine wearing all of these outfits with Birkenstocks and only leaving the house to garden or go to art galleries. (via EightyFourFive)

Ask any dude worth his salt in menswear for his list of most influential brands, and Jun Takahashi's Japanese-stalwart UNDERCOVER will be somewhere high on that list. JohnUNDERCOVER is their spanking new diffusion line, less focused on the avant-garde and more interested in creating really perfect basics, though there's at least one really progressive idea here in those short calf-skimming pants that are almost like capris. (via Hypebeast)

Two Great Japanese Brands Right Now: Needles and JohnUNDERCOVER