Let’s have a conversation about Tetsu Nishiyama’s latest project. Gradually emerging over the past few months, Descendant is a new clothing brand from TET—mastermind of WTaps, Forty Percents Against Rights and URSUS Bape—and his wife Mikiko, who ran her own Nadesico womenswear line from 2002 to 2012.
Producing clothes for men, women and children, Descendant is ‘presumed to be the Nishiyama family’s wardrobe with the concept of “Passing down the generations through children’s observations of their parents”’. As a result, the output is considerably calmer than what we’ve seen from TET in the past.
On the menswear side, pieces are closer to the preppy style that was prevalent in WTaps back in around 2008–2010. Designs are clean and refined—where WTaps’ staple military wear and sports pieces are gradually variated and developed from season to season, a lot of the Descendant offerings look stripped back to their essential formula. The result is an accessible and versatile collection with subtle touches of TET’s perspective throughout. More than anything it looks comfortable without sacrificing any style.
Womenswear, handled by Mikiko, continues this approach with simplified essential pieces—playsuits, simple dresses and shorts—as well as more unisex designs like blazers and shirting that emphasise the practical qualities of clothing. Admittedly I’m no expert on the womenswear front, so I’ll say that I think it looks nice and leave it at that.
These designs are then modified into kidswear for both boys and girls, translating the respective parental identities into corresponding outfits for children. Again, at the age of 23 I’m far from ready to start talking about kids, let alone what they wear—in the words of Dylan Moran, I’ll just be over here drinking a Frappuccino for about the next ten years—but I do like the idea and I think it’s been done well.
So let’s get back to my territory of the abstract and theoretical. Conceptually, I think Descendant actually takes a really clever approach to clothing by asking that question about the family and perception—how do children view their parents? There is always an element of children idolising their parents and forming identity through them, so by creating an all-encompassing clothing collection Descendant plays with the family identity on individual and interpersonal levels and connects with something more than just clothing. In the light of TET’s own interest in philosophy and connections between his work and his life, Descendant also falls perfectly into place with the more familial themes of recent WTaps collections.
Beyond that, kids’ fashion is an increasingly relevant thing at the moment. We’ve seen the spotlight cast on Sweet William, Kanye West’s favourite childrens’ store in Manhattan, and Goodhood has done well tailoring its own identity for the younger “customer” as well, so it’s pretty savvy of TET, a designer with an absolutely patented style and a huge fan-base, to create a junior offering of his product. Anybody who knows about WTaps in Japan knows that the stuff disappears off shelves and with a burgeoning market of parent consumers looking to drape their kids in steez—pray they still make baby FBTs for me in ten years—I’ve got a pretty strong feeling that Descendant will be well-received by its target audience.
So far official information and imagery for Descendant has been pretty sparse. For that reason I’m presenting a selection of the best bits so far. The main article features a menswear photo-editorial from a recent issue of Popeye Magazine, while the gallery below features a collection of lookbook images from both the brand’s website and other sources. Just think of me as a digital pigeon, pecking at scraps of tattered bread in the hopes that it will eventually make a serviceable meal. You’re welcome.
Descendant is currently unavailable outside of Japan. You can find a list of official stockists at their website, as well as further brand information and imagery to complete the picture. Your best source of information right now is definitely the official Instagram account where you can get regular hits of daily style shots and the like. If you’re reading this and you live in Japan, hit me up and help me get a Cachalot pocket tee so I can get me some of that sweet whale-logo goodness. Thanks bby xxx.