Artisanal Japanese label 45R has opened its second store in Singapore at Paragon, and there is more to the store than meets the eye. (Hint: it’s in the interiors.)
Yasumi Inoue (Photo: 45R)
But first, the clothes. Well known for its slow fashion approach to design, 45R has a dedicated cult following for its hand-dyed indigo-centric soft goods, and bohemian-style clothing that are made to be worn forever (if you want), thanks to the “materials first” ethos of the brand. As 45R’s co-founder and head designer, Yasumi Inoue, explains, “when I have good material to begin with, the strength of that material contributes to the quality of the end product.”
And in celebration of the opening of the store, Inoue has specially designed a limited edition series of orchid-printed jersey wear made of 100 per cent Zimbabwe cotton – a fine yarn with an uneven texture selected to complement the weather here.
For this month, keep a lookout for the first of three Spring/Summer capsule collections from 45R. The safari-themed capsule features tunics, boxy kimonos, wide-legged pants and relaxed tops in a palette of earthy ochres, made with airy and cool-to-the-touch materials like woven khadi from India, cotton from Deccan and Zimbabwe, and suvin cotton, a 45R signature material. The brand will also subsequently launch a Colonial-themed capsule in June, followed by a Moroccan one in July.
Now, for the store. When you are done with the clothes, turn your attention to the store itself - the doors, walls, and even the tiles you are standing on.
Designed by architect Tomoyuki Sakakida, who envisioned the store as a space to honour 45R’s products as treasures of time, the 730 sq ft store has interiors that are inspired by Silk Road and the UNESCO-registered Shoso-in – a treasure house in Nara.
To reflect 45R’s philosophy of good quality clothing, Sakakida has also selected quality materials for the interior of the store.
Here are three things to appreciate when shopping at 45R:
1. The gates, fitting room doors, and display tables
The store gates, fitting room doors, and certain display tables are made of a very special wood, named Yakusugi. How special is Yakusugi? It is obtained from 1,000-year-old (no typos here) Japanese cedar trees that grow at high altitudes in the forests of Yakushima island. But don’t worry, no trees were intentionally felled to make the fixtures. As it is not permitted to cut Yakusugi now, wood from trees that fell naturally in typhoons were used instead.
2. The feature wall
Directly opposite the entrance, behind a row of mannequins, is a standalone feature wall that may resemble ordinary wood panelling from afar. No, it’s not made of Yakusugi, but of silk instead, referencing Silk Road, where treasures were once traded.
3. The tiles
The grey tiles used in the store are flown in from Japan, and made in the same prefecture of the UNESCO-registered Shoso-in, which inspired the design of the store.
If you look carefully enough, you would also notice that there is no grout used between the tiles, as they have been precisely hand-cut into perfect squares that do not need any extra help with fitting.