A fragrance that lingers long in the air is said to have a strong sillage. It makes itself known. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on the fragrance in question. We’re not sure whether this is what Nicolas Yuthanan Chalmeau was thinking of when he named his brand, but we can be sure that any item you purchase from Sillage will stay with you for a long time.
Sillage is a Tokyo-based menswear label that is “inspired by the world, made in Japan.” One word springs to mind when browsing through its Instagram page: oversized. Small models wear jackets that fall off the shoulder and pants that billow around the legs. It’s smart but playful. Tailoring with a twist.
In its latest project – a collection of jackets, overshirts and mufflers – Sillage is taking “another step in the right direction as we shift our focus more and more to incorporate the concepts of sustainability and up-cycling into our core beliefs.” If you follow Yuthanan on Instagram, you’ll be aware that he has a keen eye for collectables and vintage items. He documents the toys, figurines, ceramics and books he discovers on his travels around East Asia via beautiful still-life shots. He also finds lots of textiles. Blankets and embroidered fabrics adorn his feed, and in their raw state, they already look like something Sillage would stock.
For this new “Artisanal Collection,” Sillage has produced items made from old military uniforms. The original items are cut into square patches which are then sewn together into patchwork fabrics. Artisans in Tokyo then re-work the patchwork fabrics by hand, assembling them into the new products. A factory in Okayama finishes the items with buttoning details. And finally, each unique item is numbered by hand by graphic artist and illustrator Naoyuki Yoda.
Within the collection is a series of padded mufflers made from military liner pants. These are large mufflers that can be wrapped around the whole body, with pockets to not only keep your hands warm but keep the muffler in place if the wind starts to blow. Alongside these are a line of overshirts and jackets, with contrasting panels of camouflage, yellow and green. In traditional Sillage style, these pieces are oversized with a wide and long body, and big pockets. But the tailoring and shaping of the garment means that it still fits the body.
All Sillage pieces are one-size, which means anyone can buy them, really. The oversized pieces lend themselves well to layering, with cuts and shapes that break up the monotony of jackets and trousers. You can also be sure that these pieces are crafted to the highest standard, with a long life in mind.
It’s worth noting that Sillage also makes footwear with leather. Not every brand can be perfect. We’ll keep an eye on Sillage as it begins its journey towards more Earth-friendly practices, which will hopefully include the removal of any animal-derived materials. Yuthanan’s eye for vintage fabrics could easily be the focus of this transition.
Take a closer look at the collection on the Sillage website (which ships from Tokyo). For another type of journey, check out Forét’s FW23 collection.