Leading Tokyo Fashion Week brand ‘DRESSCAMP’designer Toshikazu Iwaya:“Indefinable, individual and forever evolving; that’s Tokyo style.”


Ever since its founding thirteen years ago, the DRESSCAMP collection has been hailed as a florid and standout affair. Taking the runways by storm, the new Spring/Summer 2016 Collection definitely does not disappoint. A potpourri of clashing colours, miscellaneous patterns, ribbons, frills, lace and roses set the tone, with obscure collabs such as big applique lips plastered upon flower-print jersey. You definitely have to hand it to the designers ? they work with exquisite flair and skill. But one thing is for sure: DRESSCAMP most definitely stands out as a lone fighter amongst the docile Tokyo fashion scene. We met with designer Toshikazu Iwaya to talk fashion, individuality and Tokyo style.








“The notion of individuality only correlates to the amount of people wearing one trend.”

“Nowadays when I look around Tokyo, everyone is so immaculately polished and stylish. But that’s exactly the problem. I just find it so weird. It’s like somebody decided this rigid set of rules for personal style that everybody follows. I guess that’s why my designs are so adventurous ? I’m encouraging people to play around more with fashion”, says DRESSCAMP designer Toshikazu Iwaya. “The only thing is, my collection is almost too adventurous that it comes right back like a curve-ball. Is it too gaudy? Too showy? Too dark and twisted and strange? I have no idea. But for me, just the fact that all those elements co-exist together is something beautiful.”

To the cool kids of Tokyo, perfectly refined from head to toe? Iwaya suggests, “try harder”.

“For the upcoming mens collection, we released a rose-print co-ord set for men. I mean, since the public’s response to the brand up until now has been confusion, I thought why not go the whole hog? It’s not like I’m trying to cast men in a feminine light with the design ? it’s all about the way you wear it. After all, the notion of individuality only correlates to the amount of people wearing one trend. It’s all about the timing of when you choose to join in ? after it’s become the norm, or at your own timing simply because you want to wear it. Try harder to make your own fashion choices.”

“With passion, enthusiasm and individuality, people blossom”. Iwaya is the epitome of his own philosophy, self-assured and relaxed in his own jersey design.

“My top and bottoms are matching, so to me that’s basically a suit. I can be presentable at formal occasions and then go straight to the gym without having to change ? it’s a great all-rounder (laughs).”

Iwaya’s self-expression and individual charm is perfectly composed ? it’s the kind of enviable poise that makes you want to get out of the flow of mass style and textbook fashion and create a more unique look. “It all starts from finding a piece that engages your passion. You want it so badly that you work hard to get your hands on it, or failing that, find something to substitute it. But all along you’re thinking about it”, he notes.

“I think our choices will get broader and broader as time goes on. There is already so much to pick from. All you have to do is make a choice to express yourself. I want people to enjoy and engage more in their own individual style.”

“We’re living in an era where the majority of things can be attained with little to no effort. That yearning feeling of ‘if I don’t get my hands on this now, I may never come across it again!’ is few and far between. It wasn’t like that up until about fifteen years ago. People invested in their style and Tokyo had this crazy buzzing aesthetic”, Iwaya recalls of the Tokyo glory days. But he remains positive. “I think that the way that fashion is associated with special occasions is a wonderful thing. You can take the glamour of a hotel party theme and incorporate that into your daily look. Trying new styles every day is a great way to increase enjoyment and interest in fashion. I think as that kind of experimental and artistic thinking becomes more widespread, Tokyo will become a much more interesting place.”

熱狂し思考する 特別感を意識する そうして人は 素敵になっていく










「東京っぽい」を 作りだすのは自分





The people themselves are responsible for creating ‘Tokyo style’.

At first, puzzled critics often defined DRESSCAMP as ‘foreign style’, but you only have to take a glance at the runways of Paris to see that the conservative designs of the European fashion houses had little relation to DRESSCAMP’s outlandish look. “In a way, I think the fact that it is so disordered and indistinguishable is something that was only made possible in a city like Tokyo”, Iwaya remarks fondly. “I’m proud to be a representative of what I believe to be Tokyo style.”

With tourist figures rising year upon year, the search for ‘Tokyo-style’ memorabilia, photo opportunities and fashion will no doubt pick up the pace, but Iwaya isn’t worried. “Even without the foreign perspective, I think that the concept of ‘Tokyo style’ will become more easily distinguishable in years to come. It should be all about self-expression and freedom. It’s indefinable, individual and forever evolving. That’s Tokyo style.”