Why Bother With Anything But Markaware?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until it’s irrelevant (which will be never): clothing should be easy. Getting dressed in the morning ought to be effortless, requiring no more thought than what snack I feel like eating right now or how many times I’ll listen to that one song that’s been stuck in my head for weeks.

There are a lot of Japanese labels doing easy daily clothing in elevated color palettes and fabrications right now. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

So, it might be easy to lose Markaware and sister label Marka in the shuffle. Both brands specialize in the kind of thoughtlessly appealing apparel that can be tossed on, mixed and matched, layered-up season after season with almost no effort at all. Bonus: it’s all quality stuff.

Designer Shunsuke Ishikawa specializes in no-frills garments that’re sturdily made of fine textiles, with room to move and palettes that blend organically into any existing wardrobe.

Why wear anything else?

Only a few international stockists carry either line, which is a shame, because it’s readily available in Japan. Some local stores do ship internationally, at least.

There’s actually quite a bit of lore worth diving into regarding Markaware’s place in Japan’s menswear scene, like how its eco-conscious production and sleek shapes foretold both the fashion industry’s move towards lowered carbon footprints and quiet luxury — Ishikawa began his labels in 2003 — but that’s for another time.

For now, all you really need to know is that Markaware is the more elevated of the two brands, channeling sophisticated silhouettes through mature staples — utility shirts, mac coats, and peg trousers — while Marka is a bit more accessible, a little more street and a little more ’90s.

Either way, you can’t go wrong. You get Japanese-made quality and sleek silhouettes that’re more considered than “minimalist” fast-fashion brands that churn out boxy sweaters and tapered trousers without thought.

The only tough part is importing the right bits in line with your size, which can be a struggle if you aren’t small enough to fit the goods. But Markaware’s a bit more international in that regard, so it’s worth checking up on measurements and taking the plunge.

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