Looking at spring/summer 2022 collections that have been coming out since June, we can discern a huge difference from last year’s collections—This season, we can see some designers brimming with confidence, and some still being “tentative,” trying to read people’s faces with inner dialogues like, “is it now okay to convey a bright future?” “Is the world now waiting to see hope?” and “our job is to interpret sentiments into clothes, right?”
In retrospect, the fashion industry was a bit more serious a year ago. But of course, designers had never attempted to do something that would exacerbate our fear towards the unprecedented peril. But instead, for spring/summer 2021 collections, they came up with more functional clothes that kept us snug and enjoy our “time at home,” and the source of inspirations were spawned from the collective messages shared among us all being physically apart from one another.
The production of summer/spring 2021 collections started around spring of 2020. It was right when the world went into lockdown. I remember myself feeling in danger, and there were many designers harboring negative thoughts deep down inside. Creations by designers, who vent out their pent-up feelings, made an imprint on me and made me see fashion’s sociability. After a while, society was further into turmoil with new variants and conflicting opinions on prevention measures arising, and the mood of “don’t-speak-of-hope-so-easily” swept through the entire society, including the fashion and beauty industry. Compared to the year, for spring/summer 2022, while being aware of the flurry of voices around, designers are courageously turning into the direction of “let’s-talk-about-hope.”
As one of the members of the industry, I hope the honest passion of the fashion industry chime with as many people as possible and guides them to a better and happy life next year.
Andrea Pompilio (from hereunder, Andrea) is a creative director of Onitsuka Tiger, who purely wishes to “deliver hope” and launched the new collection espousing his sincere feelings.
The utterly silent world, under the epidemic prevention measures, started moving towards the future
For spring/summer 2022, at Milan Fashion Week, Andrea—from his hometown of Milan—showcased not only the Onitsuka Tiger collection, but also a video he produced with film director Hideto Hotta. Among a slew of distinguished luxury brands, the sports-inspired fashion brand, representing the country of Japan, exuded a profound presence.
The collection and film conveyed the “silence” and “dynamism” of Tokyo. They portrayed the utterly silent world under the epidemic prevention measures, start resuming and moving towards the future. Andrea comments, “I think Tokyo is a much more dynamic city than a silent one. Despite everything there are historic districts, where passing by at night there is a relaxing silence that takes you back to the past. Totally in contrast to the morning, when you wake up to go to work in full traffic with endless people who create this vibrant and beautiful metropolis.” And he tells us that the “silence” and “dynamism” of Tokyo, which he had experienced before, is the perfect analogy of the current world trying to overcome the adversity and pave the way to a new generation.
His creation of this season fits well with the current time and shows his journey to a “bright future.”
The global lockdown lasted for a long period of time, however, in Andrea’s recollection, “it actually passed quickly.” He also recalls, “I enjoyed life at home doing chores and things I had not done in the last 15 years, and I started offering live conversations on social media with friends and colleagues from the fashion world from all over the world.” The vibes and pure will that Andrea gleaned through communicating online with younger generations, certainly gave him a hint in producing the new generational creation. He also mentions, that for spring/summer 2022, he deliberately went back to basics and began from questioning himself, “what is Onitsuka Tigers?”
So, what is Onitsuka Tigers? Some people may immediately think of the man, Kihachiro Onitsuka, who believed that “sports have the power to change our lives”; some people may imagine the functional shoes that awe the world during the Olympics; and some people may view it as a leading brand that redefined sports as lifestyle and fashion. Andrea has adopted all these notions in the latest collection.
The spring/summer 2022 collection is so powerful that may bring change to someone’s life—full of functionality, highly fashionable, and fits right into our lifestyles. And it is entirely expressed with the “silence” and “dynamism” of Tokyo.
The “silence” and “dynamism” of Tokyo diversely expressed in the collection
The “silence” and “dynamism” of Tokyo. The conflicting and fascinating elements are diversely expressed in the spring/summer 2022 collection. The compact collection, comprised of 25 looks in total, begins mainly with the calm grey tones. It made me wonder, is the color from the skyscraping buildings in Tokyo, which Andrea calls it, “the beautiful metropolis”? Or is it representing the “silence” in the dark before dawn, before people wake up? The collection also opens with elegance, displaying many sets of jacket and trousers. However, towards the end, the collection upsurges in the mood of “dynamism” with garments in vivid neon colors; cut-off active and sporty styles, with the Onitsuka Tiger aesthetic, that assertively show off skin; and the brand’s iconic “tiger” motif, which has not been re-interpreted since the beginning when Andrea started co-branding with Onitsuka Tiger.
“Back when the “tiger” was first re-interpreted, it was proposed as a gadget to give along with the shoes. This time, however, it is the absolute protagonist of the collection.” As Andrea states, the “tiger” motif is lavishly adorned on the utilitarian retro-mood multi-wear.
The collection also features packable hooded blousons that can be carried like a bag, and many other multi-use items. Andrea notes, “it is certainly an eco-sustainable choice to have garments that can be used in different ways and occasions.”
The accessories, including classic high cut shoes and comfort tech ragged sole sandals, are consisted of a wide of variety of designs, from splendid classics to incredibly impactful new styles, from grey to “tiger,” from elegance to sporty, and from classics to new styles; each piece is protean. The collection, rendering the “silence” and “dynamism” of Tokyo, is made to complement multifaceted lives of various individuals from all around the world.
Strong sense of nostalgia spawned from Andrea’s strong feelings toward Japan
The spring/summer 2022 collection and video are both nostalgic. The blousons embellished with lines evoke the origins of the 70s retro-sports, and the short skirts, shorts and mock neck tops somewhat emanate a nostalgic vibe as well. Although the video was filmed in 2021, in the city of neon lights, an emotional mood seeps through the screen. The cabs that appear in the video are all sedans, and not the London-taxi-style cars that are seen more commonly in the city nowadays. With such details, although the video captures the real scenery of Tokyo, it would still appear new to young people in Japan who know the city very well. And for young generations in the rest of the world, the video presents two versions of Tokyo: a cutting-edge city and a nostalgic city that is somewhat relatable to their own homelands. Andrea has been visiting Japan frequently, ever since he became the brand’s creative director, so for him, it’s been a while not being in Japan for two years. He eagerly says, “I can’t wait to go back to Japan!”—His desperation to come back to Japan is probably what took him down the memory lane, and became the underlying source that generated the sentimental, nostalgic mood.
The film was entirely shot in Japan. It was directed by film director Hideto Hotta—who had cut his teeth as a project planner and film director for independent media outlets, and recently produced music videos and documentaries for artists like OZworld, MIYACHI, and Shakabozu—and Andrea also took part in directing, remotely from Milan. “The Japanese team is very good and professional and managed to get the message I wanted to send,” Andrea proudly tells us. Though, he is already thinking about the next and conceiving an even brighter future in his head, “by the time people wear the [spring/summer 2022] collection, the problems will be resolved, therefore, I hope for a return to travel also by the international press and in the possibility of showing in Milan. It is going to be a beautiful emotion.”
Andrea is not fazed by the unprecedented peril, and he is rather positive about what’s lying ahead. Again, like I said earlier, I’m extremely excited to see his new Onitsuka Tiger collection bring about the “hope that the world is now waiting for.”