MINT NeKO Fashion show: 2014 Autumn/Winter collection
The internet has taught us at least one thing: everyone loves cats. Especially Japan with their cat videos, cat cafes, and of course famous characters like Hello Kitty. Therefore, it is not surprising that the fashion brand MINT NeKO is loved by many people, featuring over 250 different cat characters, quirky subculture cuts, and ethnic styles with the occasional VK touch. This autumn/winter collection however, held a surprise for fans of the fashion and ROKKYUU were there to share it with you.
MINT NeKO fashion-lovers assembled at the h.Naoto Harajuku store for the exclusive fashion show. At the door, guests were greeted by friendly staff and even by MINT’s fellow designer IBI, himself. As Sixh., the fashion label previously collaborated upon by IBI and MINT recently announced their discontinuation, this personal touch showed customers that the family is still together. After the warm welcome, guests were encouraged to sip on complimentary drinks while browsing the first floor of the store which had been rearranged to display only MINT NeKO items for the event. Customer fashion co-ords ranged from a level of wearing MINT NeKO accessories to being covered in their favorite MINT NeKO items. Among the crowd, the MINT NeKO eye test t-shirt proved to be an especially popular item this summer. The lounge music in the background with the occasional cat meowing seemed to bring the items on the shelves to life.
When the crowd had fully assembled, MC MOFY announced the start of the fashion show. The title announced on the posters was “MINT NeKO igirisu e iku – MINT NeKO goes to Britain” and guests were excited to find out what this meant. The items were intended for the autumn/winter collection, however special attention was called to the fact that the layered nature of the outfits meant that many items could already be worn straight away—even in the hot, late summer temperatures.
Indeed, the first item presented was a striped and floaty dress, both cute and fashionable. Wide skirts and pants are a MINT NeKO trademark and the dress was wide and breezy enough for summer. The blue shirt, worn over the shoulder and tied at the front, featured a large ancor-themed MINT NeKO cat; a potential newcomer to the 250 character strong MINT NeKO family tree.
With the striped ocean theme, MINT is joining this year’s sailor trend without jumping on the sailor collar bandwagon. While showing bright stripes, the new anchor MINT NeKO, breezy fabrics and blue shades, the new items could just as well be worn on the beach or while shopping. Meanwhile, the sailor collar has been overdone this year by high and low brands, often bordering into cosplay. By omitting the collar, these items can still be worn once the collar boom is over and it makes them easier to coordinate with more subtle styles.
The gentleman’s fashion items especially showed that UK touch that the poster announced. Tartan patterns and darker colors came together for a cool, dark style. The tartan coat modeled by MINT himself stood out in particular and with the cute cat ears on the hood, girls will be sure to want to wear this item as well.
Over all, MINT NeKO’s 2014 autumn/winter collection presented a subtler approach than prior collections. Some items featured the MINT NeKO cats almost hidden away, causing customers to look twice before actually spotting the brand logo. This new subtlety makes it easier to wear MINT NeKO with more casual clothes, outside of Harajuku and subculture genres. Meanwhile, fans of MINT’s more colourful designs did not have to leave disappointed as MINT had a special surprise waiting for them.
At the end of the MINT NeKO fashion show, MINT asked the guests if they knew about his new line called Nishi-Azabu Circus. Most guests nodded in agreement to which the designer announced that he had brought some of his circus collection items to the store and would be willing to share them with the crowd. Big cheers followed and the curtain opened again to show off a few items of the Nishi-Azabu Circus collection. Mixed textures, all colorful and cute, showed that MINT has still maintained his playful side as a designer. The points to watch for in Nishi-Azabu Circus are definitely the animals. A penguin parker, a hedgehog hood-scarf combo, and a bear jacket were just some of the quirky creations visitors got to marvel at. While MINT NeKO focusses on cats only, Nishi-Azabu Circus covers a wide range of animal-themed items with many ears attached and cuddly fabrics—thus giving MINT the freedom to experiment with different designs where the cat theme has its limitations.
Needless to say, items from both Nishi-Azabu Circus and the new MINT NeKO collection flew of the shelves. Some customers who splashed out even received a specially designed MINT NeKO tote bag for their purchase.
Fans of MINT will find his style evident in the wide and fashionable items and in his colorful and eccentric items, alike. It’s a pleasure to see MINT covering both areas so well and there is much anticipation toward what the future will hold for both lines.