Hiromichi Ochiai is an unassuming, casually-dressed Japanese man and the brains behind latest fashion success story Facetasm. The prosperity of Facetasm in the west has been a long time coming. The label was founded in 2007 and appeared at Milan Fashion Week in 2015. Following the outing in Milan, Ochiai’s brand became a regular fixture at Paris Fashion Week. The brand’s name comes from the word facet, meaning many sides. There is a lot to Facetasm—not only is it stylistically complex, there are multiple reasons why it does so well.
Ochiai’s brand is defined by conceptual streetwear. Lines are stretched; fabrics are loose; the styling is heavy—a radical self-expression. Perhaps it’s a western stereotype of Japan—conceiving the citizens to be clad in layers of garments, a modest way of dressing. Although it was presented loftily and came across as chilly, there was an underlining sense of covering up rather than undressing. It was an ode to the possibilities of what you could wear. One thinks of Vetements as the pinnacle of streetwear, emerging in 2015. However, beyond Vetements there are many labels that are more deserving of that title: there is Y/Project, from unisex-pushing virtuoso Glenn Martens, or Facetasm, by Ochiai. Facetasm is a suitable example of the result of fashion industry directing their attention elsewhere, to labels that aren’t as compelling or engaging.
To continue to contrast it with Vetements, Facetasm is doing more for diversity than most other labels. Ochiai’s catwalk was replete with models from various ethnic backgrounds and genders—his decision to show menswear alongside womenswear works here, as it’s more true to the aesthetic of the brand. Vetements have found themselves in hot water for racist casting—Facetasm should be celebrated just as much as Vetements is chastised for their decisions. It is indicative of the street—a melange of different nationalities and backgrounds: it’s far more interesting than the white-washed world we’re generally presented with.
There is an undoubted insouciance to the way the show is crafted and styled—the notion of dressing quickly and randomly pervades the collection and it evoked a messiness that wasn’t in any way standoffish or ugly. There was something about the haphazardness that was charming, with the blend of textures and colours making something beautiful. It appears that while this is heightened and glamorised Ochiai is more connected with reality than others.
There is work to be done at Facetasm. For starters, while the messiness is charming, balancing the overall aesthetic with refinement wouldn’t go amiss. The aesthetic itself: a smattering of this, a smattering of that—pertaining to the word facet—should be simplified and directed in a clearer fashion. Brand identity is essential to brand success in 2017, hence I would like to see Ochiai work on his design handwriting; with that, everything will be in place for an upward trajectory.