almost to the point where it’s difficult to build any hype around something that hasn’t been cosigned by someone with a Fashion Week runway show. In 2003, when the Y-3 collection debuted, this concept was unheard of. Partnering with an avant garde fashion designer was the aesthetic equivalent of putting a computer inside of a shoe, in 1984. Like the Micropacer, Y-3 proved to be a revolutionary piece of inspiration. While the computer equipped running shoe didn’t become commonplace, the alignment of fashion and sportswear reverberated across the entire industry.
Leaving that aside for the moment, let’s take a detour to June, 2016. The Yakult Swallows visit the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters for a nondescript, early season match up, but the pregame goings on inside the Sapporo Dome are definitely well outside the usual baseball routine. A promotion for the upcoming Sadako vs. Kayako movie previewed the clash between the supernatural antagonists of the Ringu [The Ring] and Ju-On [The Grudge] franchises on the baseball diamond.
Sadako, sporting a glove and cleats to go along with her usual long white dress emerged from the bullpen to pitch to the bloody, ghostly Kayako; by normal standards, the whole thing was undeniably bizarre, but also, undeniably baseball. Sadako, despite a face full of stringy, black hair, got 60mph worth of heat on her pitch, which Kayako met with solid contact, sending the ball down the third base line for a definite base hit.
The promotion could not have worked out more perfectly, as the event made international news.
The same dynamic at work in horror baseball, the sudden collision between the familiar and the unexpected lies behind the initial appeal and continuing success of Y-3. The traditional Japanese design influences and the avant garde qualities that made Yohji Yamamoto a star in the fashion world, when applied to the ready to wear, everyday essential form of sportswear, become easily consumable and usable. Nobody needs a special occasion to don a tracksuit, so an aesthetic that would normally be imposing is stripped of all “proper” contexts, and allowed to just be.
Talent | Ryan (@lambolurkin)