Comme des Garçons was founded by Rei Kawakubo in 1973. The name ‘Comme des Garçons’ translates to ‘like boys’ in French, and the Japanese brand is headed in Paris. After success throughout the 1970’s Kawakubo launched her menswear line in 1978.The brand is known for its conceptual designs and experimental style. Kawakubo is constantly pushing boundaries and testing the limits of fashion and design. The overall aesthetic of Comme des Garçons is modern, nonconforming and exciting. Through clashing prints, graphics and exaggerated silhouettes, the brand challenges traditional shapes and design.
Offering a number of sub-labels under the Comme des Garçons family, there are different takes on the outlooks of Kawakubo’s style through each sector. The most widely recognised of the Comme des Garçons branches is certainly Play Comme des Garçons, launched in 2002. At a lower price point than other ranges, Play and it’s iconic heart motif is Comme des Garçons’ most mainstream offering. This produces basic pieces such as t-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts, but these basics are given a playful and creative feel with the use of the heart graphic, designed by Filip Pagowski.
Collaborations with Play Comme des Garçons have been numerous and include Nike, Jordan and Converse. Originally partnering with Converse in 2009, producing Chuck Taylor’s featuring their heart logo, the success was great and there have been many releases since. Rei Kawakubo, and husband Adrian Joffe also founded and run Dover Street Market, the international fashion retailer, based initially on Dover Street, Mayfair. Collaborating with Comme des Garçons, or simply being stocked in Dover Street Market, has added credibility to many streetwear labels over the years, and is seen as a mark of honour to be surfaced by these brands.
Other sub-labels include:
- Comme des Garçons SHIRT– challenges traditions of a man’s wardrobe, elevating essentials such as the shirt through use of colour and graphic prints.
- Comme des Garçons BLACK– produces leisurewear, and has collaborated with Nike to produce t-shirts and shoes.
- Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons– one of the most popular labels, designing modern and compelling high-fashion womenswear.
- Comme des Garçons Parfums – a unisex fragrance range, famous for pioneering synthetic fragrances such as ‘tar’, ‘dry clean’, and ‘garage’, as well as more conventional aromas.
Comme des Garçons have stores in cities such as London, LA, Singapore and Beijing. Stores are branded as Dover Street Market, after Rei Kawakubo and her husband’s store originally on Dover Street, Mayfair. They can also be found online at Selfridges, Flannels and Farfetch.