They may be newcomers to Tokyo, but behind the fashion names picking up traction this summer is a wealth of experience combined with honed artisanal skills.

Affordable minimalism

The beauty of origami folds, pleats and twists in clothing is usually something that could only be appreciated by frequenting luxury fashion houses and having deep pockets. But now a new local brand is encapsulating the intrigue of Japanese minimalism and applying it to a range of clothing that is far more accessible than those that have come before it.

UN3D (pronounced “un-threed”) launched in 2016 with both women’s and menswear and has quickly ballooned to hosting a standalone shop in Aoyama. Its raison d’etre is the study of geometry, asymmetry and folds in wearable clothing, with a decidedly unisex and minimalist approach to silhouettes.

Colors are generally muted and are monotone or paired to complement the abstract accessories and statement shoes that match the quirky designs.

The brand’s name alludes to its manifesto of being unconventional, and the designer knows a thing or two about breaking out from the mold: Momoko Ogihara rose to fame as one of the breakout stars of the Shibuya fashion scene, co-opting her unique personal style into a wildly successful 109-mall brand called Murua before stepping down to create UN3D.

Modest luxury

People often say that the journey can be better than its destination, but in the case of new brand and boutique M, both are equally fantastic. M is located inside the grounds of the Kanda Myojin Shrine, which was founded in 730 AD. You enter through the shrine’s main gate and traverse multiple architectural wonders before you arrive in the back, where on the right is a stark white building housing the M shop in room 302.

The brand may be new, but the designer is true-blue veteran Michiko Nakayama, who headed the popular brand Muveil for 10 years. Although Nakayama has built a cult following for her unusual collection themes, it comes as a surprise to see that M strips her design ethos down to its core with small editions of simple but luxe clothing. Nakayama explains, “This isn’t about seasonal themes of kitsch, it is about essential quality and the utmost comfort.”

The silhouettes are roomy yet elegant, straddling the lines of city wear and luxe lounge wear. Until the 29th of June, anyone can drop by the chic salon-like store, but afterward, M requests that customers make appointments via the website.

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