The Core Essence of Keizo Shimizu: Needles SS17

Tokyo-based fashion-progressive label Needles releases a spring/summer collection featuring a cultural amalgamation of UK sportswear, American workwear, and traditional and military Japanese aesthetics.

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The offering evokes bohemian/west-coast centric vibes through the frequent application of denim, bold patterns, contrasting textiles, and eye-catching silhouettes. The apparel range consists of a velour track suit, sateen bomber, camouflage mesh coach jacket, fishing vest/jacket, oriental button stand collar coverall, jacquard v-neck cardigan, and denim samue long coat.

NEPENTHES founder Keizo Shimizu

Keizo Shimizu is the designer of Needles, which is under the streetwear umbrella conglomerate Nepenthes that he founded. Shimizu established Nepenthes as a men’s fashion distributor in 1988 in Japan. He opened the now-legendary retail store in 1989 in the neighborhood of Aoyama, Tokyo.

Over the last 20 years, the retailer has introduced unique and diverse brands from all over the world to the Japanese fashion market. In 1989, he initially opened a Nepenthes USA office in Boston, Massachusetts, but decided to move to New York City in 1996 to establish Nepenthes America Inc.

Needles A$AP Rocky Coat & SS17 Track Pant (via @upscalehype)

Over next few years, Shimizu would grow frustrated with the type of products the market was trying dictate, which prevented him to supply the Japanese fashion market with quality, fashion-progressive goods from all over the world. In response, Nepenthes initiated their own vertically-integrated creative endeavors by rolling out fashion labels such as Engineered Garments, FWK By Engineered Garments, and South2 West8, are distributed all throughout the world at exclusive retailers.

The Needles line derives from the intimate viewpoint of Shimizu, embodying the true essence of Nepenthes. Utilizing the world’s most premier manufacturers through all the available network’s he’s instituted over his 20 years of experience. Keizo designs his collections freely, intuitively, and without any compromise to ultimately express each product as an extension of his personal aesthetics and creativity.

Needles Tyga SS17 Track Jacket & Pant (via @upscalehype)

The line is persistently deemed, mostly through the vantage points of Western civilians, as unconventional and pushing contemporary fashion boundaries. Shimizu experiments with an array of fine textiles fluctuating from velour track suits to camouflage patterned mesh to intricate jacquards all cohesively complementing one another within the same collection. His silhouettes and cutting-edge designs are refined and new wave, yet relaxed and adaptable enough for the wearer to effortlessly play with personal style.

Nepenthes is a lifestyle.
Nepenthes is an expression.
Nepenethes is a philosophy.

Collection Standouts

Velour Track Pant $193.85 + tax

  • Smooth velvet
  • Line tape sewn on outseam
  • Embroidered butterfly

V-Neck Cadigan $220.28 + tax

  • Poly-Jacquard multi-color design
  • Brushed feeling
  • Breathable

Jersey Track Pant $176.23 + tax

  • Jacquard polyester-jersey
  • Houndstooth pattern
  • High elasticity/breathability
  • Butterfly embroidery


Mesh Leopard Coach Jacket $343.64 + tax

  • Camouflage pattern mesh
  • Leopard design
  • Breathable
  • Sporty snap buttons

Denim Samue Coat $237.90 + tax

  • Lightweight denim (6.5 oz)
  • Long-length coat
  • Oriental-like overlapping front
  • Workwear-inspired

The spring/summer collection is currently available on the Nepenthes online store and at select stockists. Possible restocks in the label’s most popular styles, the track jacket and pant, in select colors may happen in the near future.

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Author: Mike Doering


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