N.Hoolywood Spring 2023 Menswear Collection

Guns can’t save the world—or feed the soul—but N. Hoolywood’s Daisuke Obana believes clothes might be able to. It’s a bold POV, and an ambitious one that runs counter to the conservative aspects of Japanese society. “To move forward, you need to set a goal and work with a strong vision,” the designer wrote in an email. “The past few years, I have been sending out a message about pursuing clothes for life and health. And I want to face people who sympathize with my beliefs rather than a broader audience. I think it would be my dream to save the body and soul through clothing.”

Safety, not salvation, is the initial vibe one gets from the fall 2023 lookbook, which was shot in a decommissioned military helicopter and designed to depict a night raid. The photos are bathed in an eerie green light, creating a sense of isolation and foreboding that seems very attuned to life in 2022. With the war in Ukraine, many designers have shied away from military references, but not Obana.

It’s not surprising to see camo, but printed on flocked fleece this one had a glitchy effect that lent a teddy-bear aspect to technical looking gear. Soft armor took the form of dense waffle knits and lightweight puffers with a zipped utility pocket; pockets on pants hovered around the knees. Look 7 was styled with a bag/vest/harness/bib hanging around the model’s neck (which called to my mind the plastic bag top that featured in Martin Margiela’s first collection), and it added a vulnerable touch at the same time that it held a promise—it has the potential to be filled.

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