N.Hoolywood 2010 Autumn/Winter Collection

Daisuke Obana, the designer behind Japanese label N.Hoolywood, isn’t your stereotypical otaku. He doesn’t collect figures or take pilgrimages to Akihabara – but he does, however, have an obsession with America.

With a lifelong fascination with the US and a passion for Americana, he left his job as a vintage American clothes buyer to establish himself as one of the most respected designers in Japan. He takes elements of American life or history and transforms them into clothing which ignores current trends and dares to be different from other mainstream high-end brands. Past collections have been inspired by hit indie-movie American Splendor, the Detroit car industry, the Amish community in Pennsylvania and city skyscrapers.

The N.Hoolywood flagship store, located behind Omotesando Hills, is always worth a visit. The store is called “Mister Hoolywood” which also happens to be Obana’s nickname. It looks like an old American ranch house from the outside, and inside is a quaint shop devoted to the N.Hoolywood collection, its formal Compile line and accessories.

When asked, in a recent interview, what his American customers think of his clothing Obana replied, “They usually love my collections. They know about their own culture but they really appreciate it more coming from someone from the outside. Americans enjoy my collections and are thankful – they discover who they are through the clothes.”

The latest show for Autumn/Winter 2010 was the brand’s farewell to Tokyo. Next season it will show as part of New York Fashion Week. This time the theme was the Vietnam War so unsurprisingly there were a lot of military uniforms. Some were actually more reminiscent of WW1, WW2 and present day army wear used in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the overall look and feel was taken from the Vietnam conflict. Obana never dilutes his theme. It’s all or nothing, and in this respect, it is close to the idea of cosplay – dressing up as Amish or soldiers etc…. In addition to military clothing there was some distressed bootleg jeans (a nod to the hippy movement), a denim jacket and plain white tees. It was a great collection and the huge army backpacks were also really cool.

So if you haven’t already – take a look at the photos, check out the website and visit the store. N.Hoolywood isn’t what you think. It’s essentially one man’s love affair with a country which is inexhaustible in its inspiration.

Mister Hollywood Store:

  • Address: 4-13-16 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
  • Telephone: 03-5414-5071
  • Website: N. Hoolywood

Text by Paul McInnes. Photos by Will Robb.

About the author:
Paul McInnes is a fashion and arts journalist based in Tokyo. He is the fashion editor (menswear) and contributing arts editor of The Japan Times. He is also the Tokyo editor of Sportswear International and contributes to publications such as High Fashion, Dazed Digital, JC Report and Japanese Streets. He has also been interviewed for TV including NHK’s Tokyo Fashion Express and lifestyle magazines such as Metropolis and Kaleidoscope magazine.

About the photographer:
As long as he is behind his camera Will is a happy man. He has photographed everything from the slums of Bangkok to the catwalks of Tokyo. He is a contract photographer for Lonely Planet, his images and photo essays have appeared in Time Out, The Japan Times, Sportswear International and a variety of other newspapers, magazines and guidebooks around the world and his photo essays from Iraq for The Griffith Review even earned him a mention in the Australian book review of the year in 2006. In addition to his media related work, Will also shoots events, portraits, weddings and the occasional CD cover. Whatever he’s working on, he always writes about his jobs and how he goes about them at Will Robb Photography.

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  3. This is too literal army copied and subsequently making ‘clothes of war’ fashionable only demonstrates how superficial and clueless this approach is. This “stylist”, as he can’t be considered a “designer”, lack any sense of creative responsibility. it’s just lazy, mainstream marketing, shallow and
    ignorant. This is the mindless face of Japan we show to the world, cho hatsukashi …..

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