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Needles: The Japanese Brand Rethinking Summer Streetwear

May 2019Words by The Daily Team

If Japanese streetwear has ever piqued your interest, you’ll probably want to know about Needles. Launched under the casualwear company Nepenthes, offshoot Needles was founded in 1997 by Mr Keizo Shimizu, who still desings the line. Recently, though, it’s started to blow up. That was partly down to A$AP Rocky, who was pictured wearing the brand’s glittery tracksuit bottoms in 2017, which Highsnobiety subsequently dubbed “the world’s most hyped track pants”.

They quickly sold out, but Needles’ reputation for being arbiters of buzzed-about streetwear has endured, and sparkly sportswear isn’t all they’re known for (although they do still make those pants). The brand’s offering includes tie-dye hoodies, paint-splattered denim jackets and jeans and cotton-flannel shirts that are spliced together with different checks, Frankenstein style. The butterfly logo that appears on the sportswear is a reference to Mr Steve McQueen’s tattoo in the 1973 thriller Papillon, of which Mr Shimizu as a fan.

As part of MR PORTER’s The Japan Edit celebrating our roster of Japanese designers, we’ve designed a capsule with Needles that features colours and styles that are exclusive to us. “From our panelled shirts to our signature track suits, these 11 pieces showcase the breadth of what Needles is known for,” said Mr Shimizu. You can find an edit of four of our favourite pieces below, and view the rest of the collection here.