UMTC Studios: How To Make It in Tokyo - A Biancissimo Editorial
From a subculture to a mainstream success story, streetwear has become a global phenomenon. What used to be a market that was dominated by American brands, and for some time heavily influenced by Japan, is now slowly reeling in diversity with every country adding their own brands, stories, and takes to the mix.
One of these brands is the German-born UMTC Studios, one of Europe's most exciting labels of the last few years.
Even though the streetwear market is getting broader and more diverse, UMTC faces the same fate as many other brands and struggles to get the recognition they deserve in local markets. The rapidly growing streetwear market in Germany sees thousands of new fans almost daily, but stays behind when it comes to choosing individualistic design over brand names, and investing their buying power into local brands. When looking through different outfits the still very young crowd has to offer, you will more than likely end up with the 2-3 big streetwear names from overseas mixed with some recognizable high-end fashion brands. What used to be a way to individually express yourself through clothing has become a uniform - the global phenomenon of streetwear has hit the mainstream.
Japan and UMTC
While Germany and Europe didn’t get entirely infected by the rough and honest uniqueness and design of UMTC (yet), one country is starting to fall in love with this brand on an awe-inspiring level: Japan.
For many people, Japan is streetwear heaven, and for those same people, Tokyo is their Mecca. From Nigo and Bape to Jun Takahashi and Undercover, Japan’s own take and influence on streetwear and its history is unparalleled. To make it in (and then make it out) of the streetwear world of Tokyo puts you in the Champions League of streetwear. Japan’s global influence is still enormous, and the clothing you can buy in Tokyo or Osaka is either a global trend or getting pretty close to it.
Back to UMTC and the leading streetwear stores in Tokyo. There are a few stores in Tokyo that are representing the Zeitgeist of streetwear more than others; the ones that don’t really need to rumble in the small alleys of Harajuku and Shibuya trying to sell the latest hype. These shops represent the future of streetwear: the trends before they’re considered trends and the highly individualistic aspect of streetwear. Shops like Contena and Cannabis Tokyo belong to the pinnacle of streetwear and fashion in Tokyo. Before a design, pattern, or brand becomes a trend or mainstream, you can probably find it in one of these shops. What you also will find in these shops is UMTC studios.
UMTC Studios represents the fine line between streetwear and fashion that doesn’t hold any of the elitism, price point and seriousness of the fashion world. But at the same time the brand is able to tell visual stories that are more than just a cool graphic t-shirt. The unique mix of various subcultures and graphic design influences, mixed with the very low key but clear message the brand sends makes UMTC a unique contender in the European streetwear scene.
For a small German brand from a city that is not-quite Berlin to make it in Tokyo and beyond is beyond praise and imagination. It’s time for the European market to come a little closer to UMTC to find out what they are missing out on.
UMTC is a contemporary-punk-avant-garde voice in the European fashion scene and Japan has heard the call. Their organic mix of streetwear and modern fashion fused into a single label has flawlessly transcended from a small town in Germany to a 30+ million city in Japan, and there is plenty more to come. Landing their first major collaboration with the Swiss major eyewear brand VIU eyewear is yet another achievement that implicates the sheer power, energy and will that this small brand from Germany holds.
The brand is blowing up, and Biancissimo is very proud to follow this story from its earliest stage.
To celebrate the brand's success in Japan, their new collaboration, and Biancissimo’s own move to Tokyo, we’re proud to present a Biancissimo UMTC Editorial straight from Tokyo. Time to have a closer look at an upcoming Tokyo champion through a Biancissimo lens.
UMTC Studios in Tokyo - A Biancissimo Editorial
A Bianco ビアンコ Production for @biancissimo
Photographer: Kai Bechtle @kaibechtle
Stylist: Yamaki Iori @yamakiiori
Models: Yuki Yamada @yu_uki333
Hair/Make-up: Mariko Yamamoto @lllllmarikolllll
Art Director: Marta Espinosa @martaespinosagil
Production: Adrian Bianco @mrbianco
edit: Brit Thoma @thomabrit