If there is one thing to say about Children of the Discordance, it is that every collection is a deeply personal study of the state of mind of its founder and creative director Hideaki Shikama. The common thread in Shikama’s work, past his signature upcycled bandanas, graphic work, and highly tactile fabric explorations, is his singular ability to tell his stories through interpretations of the loose principles behind his seasonal concepts. The idea guiding his fall delivery, and the name he gave the collection, is “Interventions.”
“It follows this idea of change, and that adding a single element, no matter how small, always brings change,” Shikama said through a translator from his Paris showroom. The inevitability of change has been in the designer’s mind as he completes his sixth season showing on the Milan calendar digitally. His original idea, he said, was to debut in Milan with a physical show in 2020, but then came the pandemic, and subsequently came wa. The two events—or interventions—disrupted our communal environment and his own way of working. For fall, Shikama was thinking about the effects of these interventions, and, more largely, ruminating on his vision of an at-peace, post-conflict world.
These ideas met most literally in the designer’s novelty textiles. Following Children of the Discorance’s usual modus operandi, the lineup is built upon an eclectic, albeit curated, mix of upcycled and new textiles, this time grounded in military surplus fabrics. In Shikama’s ideal world, he said, there would be no need for military-wear, so excess uniforms and fabrics would be upcycled for ready-to-wear. The most compelling pieces in this group were the military liner jackets, parachute pants, and jumpsuits, all augmented with graffiti in collaboration with a Japanese artist, who is painting each piece by hand. Also worth zooming in on are the jackets and trousers in which Shikama and his team distressed and cut the military textiles in geometric shapes, unveiling either a second layer of the shell fabric or upcycled souvenir bandanas. To hammer home this reimagination of military-wear in a peaceful world, Shikama’s team concocted their own camo print with photographs of trees and other natural elements taken at parks in Japan.
Elsewhere, bandana paisleys were printed on fleece, which intentionally exposed the white fabric underneath (“like when there’s a layer of dust after a war,” Shikama said). There were also items made with a selection of vintage t-shirts (including a Pink Floyd band shirt and a Thrasher magazine tee), and a trench coat built with remnants of vintage coats and lined in yet more souvenir bandanas. Most striking was a double-breasted kimono jacket and matching trousers with embroidered motifs. Shikama often includes a tailored look among his more workwear-inspired silhouettes—these are often some of his best looks.
The charm of Shikama’s Children of the Discordance is the way in which he distills his often nostalgic and emotional concepts into tactile and easily understood clothes. For spring he told the story of street culture in the Japanese city of Yokohama, where he was born and raised, and for this season he imagined a post-conflict world. What story will he tell next?