READYMADE Makes an Art Form out of Reappropriating Military Surplus Wear

Get to know the military Americana brand that’s coveted by the likes of Just Don and Virgil Abloh.

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Many Japanese fashion brands have built their business foundations on reworking second-hand garments. Among them is Yuta Hosokawa’s up-and-coming label READYMADE, which has garnered acclaim from the likes of RSVP Gallery director Don C, OFF-WHITE designer Virgil Abloh and Richard Stark from Chrome Hearts, for its creative reimaginings of classic military silhouettes. We sat down with the designer to reveal the story behind the brand’s success.

I saw an influx of substandard products in the fast fashion-oriented market, and that was when I made up my mind to create something with more substance in it.

READYMADE designer Yuta Hosokawa

A graduate of Osaka Mode Gakuen, Yuta began his career with menswear label S’exprimer before launching READYMADE as an experimental brand in 2013. “I saw an influx of substandard products in the fast fashion-oriented market, and that was when I made up my mind to create something with more substance in it.” In an effort to secure the highest quality of deadstock available, Hosokawa headed to the U.S. in search of hidden troves of military surplus wear. Every single one of his pieces is painstakingly crafted by hand, incorporating original lettering preserved from the garment to as a nod to its provenance.

READYMADE gym bag

“Although READYMADE marks a return to the past, it took me by surprise how the Internet has embraced it so readily.”

Crafted from surplus military tents, bags were initially the only item for sale. They went viral on Instagram shortly after its release, thanks to the patronage of figures like Motofumi “Poggy” Kogi, Edison Chen, Japanese cult model Akimoto Kozue and Taiwanese actor Vanness Wu. “Although READYMADE marks a return to the past, it took me by surprise how the Internet has embraced it so readily.” READYMADE later teamed up with Virgil Abloh from OFF-WHITE and released a backpack with the signature three-stripe motif. Its popularity continued to surge when Don C of RSVP Gallery and Just Don collaborated with READYMADE for a capsule collection. This increase in demand quickly outstripped supply, given the slow handmade process of creating each piece, and eventually READYMADE ran out of stock.

Left: READYMADE x Just Don. Right: READYMADE x OFF-WHITE.

“Deconstructing military wear during peacetime is a signal to end all wars.”

Commenting on the artisanal process, Hosokawa says, “Creating READYMADE products is extremely difficult. Because every single product is crafted from different source garments, the condition of the garment can greatly affect the outcome. At the same time, every finished product is one-of-a-kind.” To Hosokawa, the standard olive color of military garments also holds a deeper symbolism. “Deconstructing military wear during peacetime is a signal to end all wars. It’s a signal that we have no need for war in the modern era.”

Left: Vanness Wu. Right: Yuta Hosokawa.

Because of the rigorous demands required of handmade products, READYMADE products can take upwards of a few months to create, but it’s exactly the time it takes that defines the brand’s high standards. Production is well under way for next season’s collection of bomber jackets, field jackets and Japanese kimonos. Stay tuned to the progress of the new collection by following READYMADE on Instagram online here.

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Hypebeast HK
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Stan Tsui/HYPEBEAST

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