JU-NNA SS24 brings a combination of traditional Japanese craft and London streetwear to London Fashion Week
by Tia Janowski
On the penultimate day of London Fashion Week, JU-NNA presented their latest collection at Protein Studios in Shoreditch.
Jun Nakamura, a graduate of Istituto Marangoni in womenswear, founded JU-NNA in 2019, using their past experience making Japanese kimonos and working in Tokyo fashion as inspiration for the brand. With their previous collections being featured in Vogue, Elle and Glass Magazine, JU-NNA is bringing traditional Japanese methods to mainstream fashion with their highly anticipated SS24 collection.
A defining part of JU-NNA and this collection is their collaboration with Asian artisans to integrate the art of Japanese Shibori into the garments; bringing a new and distinctive appearance to a traditional art form. A process of binding fabrics with thread by hand to make intricate patterns, Shibori is typically used to make kimonos. This is a very time-consuming and skilled process that many artisans learn during childhood and carry on throughout their lifetime.
With the declining popularity of kimonos and the ageing of those who practice Shibori, there is a threat posed to the preservation of this tradition. By using this technique in the collection, JU-NNA is bringing the art form into mainstream fashion, giving it a new platform and use away from kimonos. For this collection, artisans have utilized the Shibori technique to adorn printed fabrics. While this approach is unusual, it has proven to be highly effective in emphasizing the eye-catching aesthetics produced by the craft’s prints and textures. The Shibori patterns are specifically designed to follow the contours of the human body, creating a natural and flattering fit to the garment. This technique adds depth and dimension to the pieces, preventing them from appearing flat like traditional printed patterns.
Nakamura was inspired by the sculpture “Alternating Rhythm” by Mária Bartuszová when creating this collection. An art piece made up of distorted silver triangles in a variety of sizes, the collection’s inspiration is clear. The triangles in this sculpture have a depth to them that is heavily reflected in the Shibori patterns seen in the garments. This collection features fabrics that are both sheer and reflective, which distort light to showcase the movement of each piece, much like the metallic colouring in the sculpture. The inspiration for this collection also comes from the fluidity of rivers and oceans, with the chosen fabrics mimicking the motion of waves found in water. The chosen colours and materials enhance this effect, creating a dynamic and dimensional pattern through the Shibori technique.
The collection features items such as midi skirts, halter necks and knee-length shorts that make the designs incredibly fitting for modern everyday fashion. Nakamura utilises a mix of fabrics such as sheer jersey, organza, organic cotton, and recycled materials to emphasise the Shibori patterns and create a contrast within the collection. The garments prominently feature yellow, blue, white, black, and brown, with a significant use of block colours that are accentuated by the intricate fabric work that prevents monotony.
The final item of the collection, a light blue maxi dress with diamond shapes taking over the body, perfectly highlights the collection and its artistic hard work. A one-shoulder, tight-fitting dress that slants across the chest in a light blue fabric, the Shibori patterns create intricate diamonds across the dress. The fabric from the knees is not decorated, which creates contrast and allows the patterns to stand out even more. The diamond cut-outs across the left side of the dress make it an incredibly sexy and unique item that shows skin in an unusual way. The strap on the left shoulder is diamond-shaped and continues down with joined diamonds that not only stand out from the rest of the dress but add further movement to the garment to reflect Nakamura’s inspirations.
This collection merges London's street fashion, which incorporates layered looks and popular styles, with the refined beauty of Shibori. The combination of these cultural influences is evident in both the collection itself and its styling, particularly in the hair and nail designs created by the Soukashi Team Japan. The overall presentation was incredibly cohesive, with detailed hair braids complimenting the intricacies of the clothing.
This collection highlights solid-coloured garments with unique fabric manipulation techniques that were previously exclusive to kimonos. Despite their simplistic look, each item is intricately detailed through the use of Shibori, making them both wearable and distinctive. The collection showcases the versatility of the craft, resulting in a trendy and original collection without any repetition of previously seen styles.