N.Hoolywood’s Daisuke Obana is known for his painstaking accuracy. The idea of the brand’s pre-fall 2022 lookbook, for example, was to insert a model in that season’s clothing into vintage military photos; to make that effect took hours and minute attention to detail. This season’s visuals are more freeform, and were created by art director Marui Motoko. Similarly the collection was developed by the team under Obana’s supervision. “I allowed others to create my brand to observe it from a different perspective in an experimental way,” he explained in an email exchange. “I wanted to enjoy creating new chemistry by having someone else imagine the clothes’ existence. By doing so, I felt that it would bring about significant changes in how they were perceived, and I could be confident in trying new things in the next season and beyond.”
The focus remained on the intersection of casual and outdoor wear, a central tenet of the brand. The collection was partly inspired by Obana’s experiences surfing and camping, but it also seemed to connect to an interest in rugged gear in Japan that dates back to the late ’70s, when, the designer explains, “a famous Japanese fashion magazine introduced the American outdoor scene.” Functionality added to style was the sweet spot then, and remains so at N.Hoolywood. The opening looks, in bold check, are a collaboration with Woolrich; cargo pants were developed in concert with California-based Gramicci.
Chunky melange knit added a ray of sunshine to the offering, as did outerwear in bright yellow, both in keeping with this season’s focus on bringing color to outdoor sports-inspired clothes which often tend toward neutral or camouflage palettes. Rugby stripes, a prep staple, were rendered in a jacquard, and appeared on shirts, as well as side stripes on pants. Obana’s 3D-cutting technique was used on a pair of curved-seam trousers that were styled with a cardigan, worn over a shirt, tie, and jacket. There were many such effective short-over-long layerings in this collection (shorts over pants, jackets over coats) that created interesting proportions. To see this sort of play is to see N.Hoolywood compile in its natural habitat, as it were. The focus here is always on keeper pieces, often inspired by vintage technical gear, and updated with performance fabrics. It’s how you put it together that matters, and always will in Obana’s world. “Fashion,” he says, “has an expiration date, whereas things without expiration dates are uniforms.” This collection should attract new enlistees to N.Hoolywood’s army.