Black Barrett by Neil Barrett

Sanyo Shokai
09 August 2007
A Japan-only second line from the acclaimed British designer.
Date of Establishment: AW2007
Parent Company:
Sanyo Shokai
Neil Barrett

In early May, Sanyo Shokai debuted their brand-new Japan-exclusive second-line for British designer Neil Barrett: Black Barrett by Neil Barrett (the official logo has the A’s in the first two words upside-down.) Until now, Barrett has had a somewhat quiet presence in the Japanese market: a free-standing store is located in Aoyama, but the distribution has otherwise been limited. The launch of Black Barrett in Autumn, however, promises to develop a serious following for the designer in Japan.

Barrett’s contract with Sanyo Shokai was quite unique to start in that the two parties did not go through a trading house, as is usually the protocol for Japanese licensing deals. The result is a very close relationship between the designer and the Japanese apparel giant. For example, Barrett gave personal approval to every single piece in this first collection, requesting last minute changes to make sure everything would perfectly align with his tastes.

Sanyo Shokai has positioned Black Barrett as a mid-range line for sophisticated and fashion-conscious men in their late 20s to early 30s. The concept is “simple and uncomplicated with considered design detail and finish.” Colors are muted, but the collection never falls into a monochromatic hole. One persistent theme in the pieces is “broken lines” – linear stitching on lapels or jackets that often stops suddenly without reaching its traditional destination. Men’s suits – ranging from 66,000 to 85,000 JPY – feature distinctive narrow lapels and thin pocket flaps. The cut of the suit tends to be slim without approaching the excessive tightness associated with younger apparel in today’s market.

Compared to Sanyo’s other major license project – Burberry Black Label – Black Barrett strikes a much more urbane and adult position. Sanyo opened Black Barrett shops within Endepa (Hamamatsu, Shizuoka) on August 23 and Shinjuku's Marui Men on August 24. The line will be on sale in 28 locations by early November.

Official site: http://www.blackbarrett.com/