Neighborhood – Fall/Winter 2013 Lookbook

collection_01Shinsuke Takizawa’s prestigious Neighborhood label made its return this week, presenting their Fall 2013 Collection and Lookbook. Following a Summer collection that played heavily with a disheveled, ‘lone ranger’ aesthetic, the brand has come back for the colder months with a mixture of precise formal outfits and referential work wear that takes inspiration from several roots.

Eschewing a singular theme for the lookbook, the shoot divides into four sections that display different approaches to the brand’s id, beginning with an all-american motocross scene that brings their ‘Rough Rider’ roots to the fore.

Functional and fashionable staples of the sport such as denim shirting and lambskin jackets are tastefully blended with subtle referencing, the check-pattern jacket and ¾-sleeve jersey slotting perfectly into the setting, while a closer inspection of garments gives light to the label’s renowned focus on quality and detailing. Simple pieces like a Harrington Jacket and heavyweight Chino Pants make welcome returns to the brand’s roster also, with the standards looking as high as ever.

Needless to say, a Neighborhood motorcycle shoot wouldn’t be complete without their legendary selvage denim making an appearance, and it looks as clean as ever in its element. Elsewhere, the brand brings forward a preppy aesthetic that has been popular with close-quarters label WTaps lately – as Japan’s sartorial reach has grown over recent years, it could be that Takizawa is working hard to satisfy his ever-expanding market, and to do so while reinforcing his roots will hopefully accentuate the positives of this expansion.

A monochromatic shoot follows that serves to present a mixture of styles, as well as giving a platform to the variety of high-quality textiles put to use. Rich, glossy leathers, plush horsehair collars and thick woolen herringbones look crisp as hell, every grain and fleck jumping out. The Neighborhood formula of function and tradition takes precedence in garments like the leather jacket with plaid lining or the double-breasted jacket and shoulder harness, showing just how seamlessly Takizawa’s brand can blend faithful functionality with 21st century style.

A third setting zooms out to showcase some work-ready garments from the collection, such as seersucker coveralls and Neighborhood’s legendary raw denim products. Faithful ornamentation such as the cross-stitches on stress points and metal hardware provides the authentication that a label so steeped in culture surely demands, and the shots benefit further from sensible styling that demonstrates how considered each piece is in its design, both individually and as part of an ensemble. On a wide open plain with little ornamentation, it is in these photos that I think Neighborhood’s cold and distant identity takes the strongest form, and while the garments might not be my first choice, they encapsulate the Neighborhood brand so well.

Finally, a second close-up shoot takes place before a screen composed of fabrics and textiles that the brand has used over the years. If there was ever an appropriate backdrop for the label’s wider aesthetic, you can’t get much closer than the rich variety of denims, camouflages and fabrics that have gone into their creations. More of Neighborhood’s favoured techniques are visible, such as their unique check shirts that fade into printed images, BDU pants and heavyweight wool items such as cardigans and sweaters. Decorated jackets and jumpers bear a stark contrast to more ‘conservative’ and referential pieces, while an earthy colour palette serves to subtly tie them to their season and environment. Use of quilting and wool fabrics, combined with the heavy layering of outfits, places the pieces right into the cold months and lives up to the Neighborhood ‘Technical Apparel’ moniker.

I was a big fan of Neighborhood’s Spring 2013 collection, owing particularly to their recent absorption of stimuli from the Altamont Music Festival and exploration of ‘The Death of Rock & Roll’. Like many of Japan’s streetwear labels, Neighborhood’s approach to fashion is often less of an attempt to re-invent the wheel every season, and more of a footstep in a journey that experiments with their own chosen parameters. New ideas are adopted and incorporated, replacing old ones that are retired and put to side.

Looking back through recent history, it’s possible to see the brand making steps away from its roots in Denim and Biker Culture to experiment with a broader spectrum of inspiration and stimuli. Their explorations into music, military and Americana have borne rich new developments that, as the brand enters its 20th year of operation, will surely usher in exciting developments for the months ahead.

As for this season, it’s always a joy to see Takizawa indulging his brand in the culture that stole his heart first, and Neighborhood’s garments rarely look better than when they’re on the back of a motorcycle. A varied but subdued colour palette, combined with accessible designs that welcome experimentation, ensures that this is another strong season in my books. Looks like it’s time to start stacking the bank funds again.

The Neighborhood Fall/Winter 2013 collection will be available from stockists around the world, including Haven, Goodhood, Union LA and End Clothing. Stores will be receiving their first shipments in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out and check back for regular updates. Peace.

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