This Visvim Obsessive Has ~400 Pieces (!) from the Cult Japanese Label
Here are 5 super-rare, super-beautiful gems from his collection
|Dec 17, 2019|
This is HARD TO GET, a weekly newsletter about awesome stuff that’s (almost) impossible to find online.
Some clothing lines have “fans.” Japan's Visvim has “collectors,” who amass completist stockpiles and clamor over weekly drops often parceled out in tiny numbered runs. A stunning degree of craftsmanship and ingenuity goes into Visvim's best pieces, which incorporate rarefied fabrics and centuries-old clothesmaking techniques -- which help customers shelling out wild sums to feel like they're purchasing something between a garment and an editioned artisan good. Certain high-profile Visvim collectors, like John Mayer, flaunt their treasures at GQ. Others, like today’s guest, Gian Jonathan, come to HARD TO GET 😉. We discovered Gian on Instagram, where we found post after post of his featuring very cool, highly esoteric pieces -- not to mention a community of hardcore Visvim fiends who mobbed his comments regularly to drool over his stuff. Gian, an ad-agency creative director based in Singapore, got into Visvim "pretty late," he says, in 2012 (the brand's been making menswear since 2005). He made up for lost time by traveling to Japan for store events; attending trunk shows; scouring resale sites; hiring proxy shoppers; and trading with fellow collectors IRL and online. Today, he estimates, he owns “about 400-ish Visvim pieces, all in all.” Here are the 5 rarest.
1. DOUGLAS JKT N.D. (SILK/COTTON):
"The fish embroidery at the back was done freehand by an artisan in Japan, using natural-dyed silk threads," Gian explains. "How crazy is that? The rest is a natural-dyed silk/cotton fabric, and it's reversible, like a Souvenir Jacket. Only 11 of these were made." There happens to be one of those 11 on Grailed right now... priced at $14,000.
2. LHAMO SHIRT KUBA (F.I.L. SENDAI EXCLUSIVE):
You might mistake this shirt for a piece of shibori, but Visvim -- which produced it to celebrate the reopening of a store in Sendai -- actually "made it from vintage African indigo fabric," Gian says. "It's fragile as hell, and rumor has it they only made one piece for each size, meaning only 4-5 pieces in the world."
3. I.C.T. KERCHIEF DOWN JACKET:
Down jackets made from vintage bandanas have become a regular Visvim staple, "but there's one pastel series, from 2014, that they only released once," Gian says. "All the colors were nice, but this light-blue was my favorite."
4. PFD JKT 3L GORE-TEX (MUD DYE):
"This jacket, from Fall '13, is not only Gore-tex but fully natural-dyed in mud, which gives it this rich color," Gian explains. "I was told that this was one of their most ambitious projects at that time." You can read about the Japanese mud-dye process, known as dorozuke, here.
5. I.C.T. NORAGI KOFU:
"This was part of the first (and best) season of Indigo Camping Trailer" -- a seasonal Visvim capsule collection known by the acronym I.C.T. "It’s made fully from vintage Japanese indigo fabric: some of the panels are from the 1900s. It might be my favorite item of all time." A small slice of Gian's collection is for sale here. Visvim has photoessays and videos about their techniques here.