Friends, Romans, countrymen, cast your eyes away from the hype and hysteria of London Fashion Week and Weekend for one moment as we take some time to appreciate the warm and comfortable sensation that is Masafumi Watanabe’s Bedwin & The Heartbreakers. Do not fear; there are no outlandish Scottschino graphics here; no neo-postmodern-maximalist cutting patterns; no dropped crotches or shoulders. This is the warm bath of well-made classics that is Bedwin. Let us bathe together.
If your cultural reference receptors hadn’t already been registered by the collection’s title, this season’s collection takes its inspiration from the early-90s style culture of appropriation, mish-mash and innovation that was embodied by New York City’s Beastie Boys.
This starting point already fits comfortably into the basis of what Bedwin has been doing for a number of seasons—namely classic American clothing with a slight teddy boy / rock’n’roll twist—but styling in the lookbook shows the Beastie influence pretty clearly in a number of fits. You can also see a number of other NYC artists like Run-DMC and Jungle Brothers coming through as well.
Menswear standards such as chambrays, chinos, trenches and MA-1s make a welcome appearance at Bedwin’s usual high standard whilst the addition and unorthodox styling of wildcard pieces like knitted sweaters, camo fleeces and faux-fur jackets emphasises the thrift store essence of the collection.
Stylistically, the lookbook is really on point. Some of the fits, particularly the baby blue coach jacket fit and the one with the navy hoodie and ‘BOYS’ cap, look like they came straight out of a Beastie Boys music video. Styles mixing a suit jacket with chinos and trainers highlight the “do it yourself” approach to early 90s style that makes looking back at images from the time so exciting.
Bringing that approach to dressing into the Bedwin frame is easier than you’d originally think. Everything just becomes a little looser, the pants a little wider and more stacked, replacing structured outfit ensembles for something I sometimes call ‘1-2-3’ style—first layer, shoes, outer layer. Reading that back I probably sound like a gorm but I’m sure any street heads out there will reassure me that I’m making sense right now. Let me secure a good basic fit, find some shoes that match, and round it off with a jacket. We’re done here.
As seasons pass it’s true that a number of Japanese brands are really starting to carve out territory in their overseas markets—UK, USA, Europe, or elsewhere—with a particular brand of menswear. WTaps has military prep, Neighborhood has biker Americana, Visvim has craft and “Yes Tom, my account is basically bleeding out on Santander’s floor right now, thank you for reminding me”. This is great, and they all do what they do really well. If there’s one thing that I’ve shown about myself over the years it’s that I’m a sucker for a brand with a compelling story.
I’ve said before that Bedwin & The Heartbreakers might be one of the best brand names ever created, and it’s certainly true that Watanabe has a knack for dipping his clothes in a different sauce every collection and giving it a slightly different taste. But every time I go back to look at the brand overall the biggest thing you notice is that they’re really good at making essential pieces in a clean and unimposing way. Some brands make stylised pieces which work on the every day, but these are every day pieces with undisrupted style.
Bedwin & The Heartbreakers‘ Fall/Winter 2015 collection will be available from UK stockists and further afield very soon, including the anon* store and end clothing. Enjoy the lookbook and keep an eye out for releases as they come. Safe.