TOKYO – The designer of punk-rock menswear label 99%IS, Bajowoo, is somewhat of a cult figure in the emerging fashion worlds of South Korea and Japan; he even has fan who “cos-play” him when they attend his fashion shows which makes for some fabulous people-watching.
The original Korean punk, Bajowoo moved to Tokyo to study fashion after having already established himself as owner of Seoul’s first punk store and a designer of costumes for rock bands. 99%IS was only launched in 2012 after Bajowoo graduated from Esmode Tokyo, but it’s been making waves right from the start.
Opening looks from 99%IS Autumn Winter 2014-15 featuring a collaboration with Mackintosh and headpieces from artisit Katsuya Kamo. Images: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo
Previous collections’ pieces can be seen in Big Bang’s G-Dragon’s MV for the track Crooked, and his band member Taeyang wore 99%IS to perform at the 2013 MAMAs. Bajowoo has also collaborated with everyone from Comme des Garçons and George Cox to Mackintosh (yes, the famous raincoat brand), which he also worked with again for his Autumn Winter 2014-15 collection.
Although 99%IS is a menswear brand, a good percentage (sorry) of its fans are women, they particularly love its fitted leather jackets, kilted trousers, shorts and tees. Bajowoo mixes some very fine tailoring in light wools and worsteds into his punk-rock leather, vinyl, studs and rubber as well, which explains why people who wouldn’t normally be “punk” are buyers of the label.
Neat tailoring from 99%IS AW14 collection. Images: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo
For the “Always” collection, the designer returned to his roots so to speak, opening with a fully studded leather blazer with half-studded narrow trousers and a remarkable headpiece created by master hairstylist, makeup artist and creative artist Katsuya Kamo who has worked with Chanel, Junya Watanabe and Undercover.
The next look featured a Mackintosh that had been modified to create a hybrid Mod-Punk vibe worn with studded skinny jeans; various versions of “classic” menswear jackets and coats were “studded up” or remade in leather then paired with all types of “classic” menswear bottoms ‒ jeans, narrow trousers, shorts, wide-legged loose trousers, even a skort-kilt (a look that would be completely wearable for women).
Obviously Bajowoo was riffing on the essential nature of menswear, and even somewhat on the same concept in rock ‘n’ roll; there will always be studs, leather and motorcycle jackets as part of the genre ‒ even if that motorcycle jacket has been turned into a backpack, a sly poke at Jeremy Scott’s bags for Moschino perhaps?
Leather overalls anyone? Still the skort-kilt and cropped puffer jacket would look great on a girl; looks from 99%IS AW14. Images: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo
While not everyone will be wanting to wear leather overalls, leather shorts covered in zips, knickerbockers paired with long socks or a “chainmail” shirt created from thousands of safety pins, there are plenty of celebrities who will and the rest of us will be happy enough with beautifully tailored soft leather jackets, tees and drainpipe trousers. That skort with the cropped puffer jacket looks damn good as well.
For more information about 99%IS go to percentis.blog138.fc2.com; you can follow Bajowoo on Instagram at @99percentis. You can shop selected pieces of the brand at the Candy Fake Tokyo online store www.faketokyo.com/shop/99percentis. For more information about the artist Katsuya Kamo, go to www.facebook.com/pages/katsuya-kamo. For more information about Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo, go to tokyo-mbfashionweek.com. You can follow the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MercedesBenzFashionWeekTOKYO and on Twitter at @MBFWT_official.
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