When I told my friend I would be headed to Tokyo’s Amazon Fashion Week this past March, he had only one question for me: “What are you packing?” I had barely begun stuttering through the contents of my carry-on when he stopped me. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “You’ll be underdressed regardless.”

As I stumbled through Shibuya, Ginza and Daikanyama feeling like an utter schlub, the trip solidified Japan’s reputation in my mind as one of the world’s most stylish countries. Its metropolitan centers are often regarded as paradisiacal hubs for anything style- and design-related. Japan has cultivated some of the most influential and innovative designers in fashion’s history, such as Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe and Issey Miyake, whose often dark and sculptural designs awed editors and critics upon their debuts on Western runways. Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College boasts an impressive roster of alumni, including Kenzo’s Kenzo Takada, A Bathing Ape’s Nigo and Undercover’s Jun Takahashi.

While many Japanese designers have achieved global recognition, there are those whose popularity remains largely domestic. Below, we highlight a few of Japan’s talented contemporary designers whose labels may very soon become international household names.

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