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Most fashion designers cite an era, a group of people, or maybe a vibe as inspiration for their collections. But Junya Watanabe is not most fashion designers. For his Fall/Winter 2022 collection, the elusive Japanese designer took inspiration from a single person: Jamiroquai front-man Jay Kay.
Although best known for performing Jamiroquai songs like “Virtual Insanity” and “Space Cowboy,” Kay is also famous for his sense of style during Jamiroquai’s heyday in the mid-Nineties. For his looks (both onstage and off), the acid jazz and funk singer combined inspirations from native cultures of the world and Nineties maximalism, often rocking plenty of color, baggy statement pieces, and some form of oversized headgear.
These influences come front-and-center in Watanabe’s FW22 collection, which features vibrant New Balance sneakers, Mexican and Native American pattern work and materials, and some tamer items like straight-leg jeans and crewneck sweaters. Standout pieces include a rainbow-tabard-overlay parka, a stripe-design fringed padded jacket, and a Junya Watanabe MAN x Carhartt blazer.
The new Jay Kay-inspired collection is now available online, and it’s really something special — whether or not you’re a fan of Jamiroquai. Although not on any centralized website, we were able to find most of the Junya Watanabe FW22 pieces at Farfetch.com and Mytheresa.com.
As usual, Watanabe enlisted the help of several other brands for the new collection. As mentioned, New Balance lends a hand with the footwear and Carhartt brought its workwear style to the runway, but Watanabe also tapped The Secretariat of Culture of Mexico and Pendleton to help with the traditional pattern work. Levi’s, Karrimor, and Stepney Worker’s Club fill out the collaborators’ list, all bringing their own respective looks to the table.
Kay’s biggest hit with Jamiroquai, “Virtual Insanity,” also makes an appearance as the soundtrack to the collection’s promotional video. In the video, models can be seen showcasing the collection while dancing to a seven-minute-long edit of the hit song, remixed by Kenji Takimi and Gonno.