Nowadays, there are plenty of cool Japanese street wear brands offering a broad range of clothes from lots of different styles. Among the crowd of the Japanese street wear brands, there are some of the brands that are really stand-out from the other brands. One of the best example is SOPHNET., a casual street wear brand that was born from the creative hands of Hirofumi Kiyonaga. For more than ten years, SOPHNET. has been showing the Japanese, and even global, fashionistas with lots of cool authentic stuffs, range from shirts, T-shirts, jeans, pants, socks, hats, and outwears. Today, we’ll find out more about who are Hirofumi Kiyonaga, the man behind the success of SOPHNET., along with his two other labels, which are F.C.R.B. and Uniform Experiment.
“to create something on a more fundamental level and not just mindlessly produce clothing.”
Prior to the creation of SOPHNET., FCRB, or Uniform Experiment, Hirofumi Kiyonaga worked under the tutelage of one of the most famous street fashion designers in France, Jean Touitou of A.P.C.. From working together with Jean Touitou, Hirofumi Kiyonaga learned that it is important to create something on a more fundamental level and not just mindlessly produce clothing. All of the experiences and knowledge that he learned led him to create SOPH. in 1998 as a means to bridging the growing number of street wear brands, such as A Bathing Ape, and a more high-end brand, such as Issey Miyake, in Japan. Under the concept of minimal design, the SOPH. brand has started its business seeking for the sophisticated daily wear. With focusing on the surplus details for multi-usages and the quest for the high-tech materials, SOPH. has created and developed the collection of functional casual clothes for daily use.
As the time flowed, it turned out that SOPH. brand was a hit because of the original concept, which is the clothes that could be worn in casual and formal as well. The success of SOPH., soon led Hirofumi Kiyonaga to create another brand, which has a totally different concept, FCRB or F.C. Real Bristol, which idea came from his burning passion for football. This time, Hirofumi Kiyonaga was supported by Nike to help him in facilitating his idea to develop football uniforms as original fashion wear by its creative concept. FCRB offers a more casual and sporty collection of T-shirts and outdoors clothes don’t have as many limitations as his other brand, SOPH., in term of availability and production of his work. The F.C. Real Bristol line was created from his burning passion for football.
“We’re not only about creating quality garments. It’s also about giving something more to that.”
In 2002, the SOPH. line changed its name to become SOPHNET. and it’s still the SOPHNET. that we know today. Eventually, from a meeting with Hiroshi Fujiwara, who is the Godfather of Harajuku, in a breakfast on one day, the two of them agreed to create a new clothing line together, which theme is a more formal menswear. That idea came up in 2008 in form of a line called Uniform Experiment, that is a more formal and professional and casual menswear brand, producing suits and ties, with simple street inspired aesthetic.
Hirofumi Kiyonaga, just like the other designers nowadays, often do collaboration works in each season. With the thought of giving opportunities for the fans to get to know a new artist or art piece, Hirofumi Kiyonaga does not only do the collaboration with the other designers only, but also with the other artists from around the world, such as Julian Opie, Tatsuo Miyajima, Jack Pierson, and many more artists to help him producing great artworks for his shirts. On the other hand, because of his great passion for football, Hirofumi Kiyonaga decided to be a sponsor for a J-League football club, Oita Trinita, and SOPHNET. logo can be seen on the Oita Trinita’s jersey.
“Globalization is seen here in the fashion industry too and the looks of how people dress up is starting to level out”
Today, those three brands, SOPHNET., FCRB, and Uniform Experiment, are under the flag of SOPH.co.,ltd. and in 2010 the first SOPH.’s overseas store in Hong Kong was opened. Though until now, SOPH. only has an overseas store, many of SOPH. collections are carried by lots of clothing dealers, range from the Eastern countries to the Western, carrying the SOPH. items in every season. That is a proof that Hirofumi Kiyonaga’s creation, which combines all the necessary elements for today men’s fashion, such as street, outdoor, traditional, could be accepted, not only locally, but also globally.
Data and pictures used in this post are taken from :