NEPENTHES Collaborations: Needles Engineered Garments & More

NEPENTHES was born in 1988 as the passion project of Keizo Shimizu, originally a stockist for American-made clothing in Japan. Shimizu partnered with his close friend Daiki Suzuki to launch the brand’s first independent labels: Needles and Engineered Garments. The designer duo took inspiration from classic American workwear and menswear staples, reworking them through closely considered Japanese craftsmanship and design.

Over the years, the NEPENTHES universe has grown with the introduction of new sub-labels, each one with their own identity. South2 West8, helmed by Kaname Nagaoka and inspired by Tenkara fly fishing, joined the family in the early ’00s. AÏE, short for Arts in Education, was founded by Daiki Suzuki’s former assistant Kenta Miyamoto in 2017, drawing from British skatepunk culture as well as Miyamoto’s own influences from ’80s and ’90s music and street culture. More recent additions include RhodolirioN and Blank Label, two womenswear labels, the former an ode to historical fashion and the latter offering a military-inspired aesthetic. A new label named SHIDEN, rooted in Japan’s motorcycle culture, has also recently been announced, with a full launch coming in Fall 2024.

The NEPENTHES universe grows even larger when you take into account each sub-label’s collaborative outputs. In no particular order, we rounded up some of our favorite NEPENTHES collaborations from recent years. Check them out below.

Engineered Garments x Palace (FW22)

UK’s Palace Skateboards teamed up with EG for a playful yet utilitarian collaboration. The collection consists mostly of GORE-TEX pieces utilizing some of EG’s most popular silhouettes. Khaki patchwork motifs and cheetah print add the cheeky Palace touch to make for a strong collaboration between the brands.

Engineered Garments x Dr Martens (FW22)

The fifth collaboration between the two brands uses the 1461 Made in England model as their canvas. The oxford shoe features a twist on the classic with an asymmetrical lacing system on black leather and beige suede colorways.

Engineered Garments x Hoka (FW21)

Inspired by the concept of a “formal running shoe”, this collection utilized Hoka’s Bondi L as the silhouette. The collaboration featured 4 different versions of the sneaker in a mix of colors and textures: Black Cow Hair, Simply Taupe Cow Hair, Sand Leopard Print, and Brown Croc Print.

Engineered Garments x Vans Vault (SS22)

Utilizing the classic Vans Authentic model, this collaboration is more than meets the eye. The asymmetrical use of canvas and suede in each pair of shoes is a nod to skate culture where skaters would swap shoes with their friends for extra style points.

South2 West 8 x Ben Miller (FW22)

S2W8 came together with artist Ben Miller in 2022. Miller’s Endangered Rivers series depicts rivers using a fishing rod and custom-made flys to paint. His unique painting method makes a perfect match for S2W8, who specialize in making fly fishing, or Tenkara, gear from a Japanese perspective. The collection include garments printed with Miller’s paintings, and half of all his proceeds from the collection went to funding local river conservation projects.

South2 West 8 x Supreme (SS21)

The streetwear giant came together with Nepenthes’ S2W8 for a fresh take on fly fishing gear and accessories. The expansive collection features a balance of tie dye and toned down colorways on a variety of jackets, vests, and mesh-forward garments that can take you from the streets to the stream.

Needles x AWGE (FW21)

 NEPENTHES Collaborations: Needles Engineered Garments & More

The collaboration between A$AP Rocky’s creative agency AWGE and Needles brings the worlds of American hip-hop and Japanese fashion together. The 2021 collection features a mix of polyester tracksuits and workwear silhouettes, reflecting Needle’s use of material combination and AWGE’s colorful brand identity.

Needles x DC Shoes (FW23)

Needles recently came together with the iconic skate company DC Shoes for a capsule collection. Highlights include polyester and nylon tracksuits with Needles’ signature purple accents, a 7-cut short sleeve tee which combines multiple t-shirts to create a gradient effect, as well as DC’s Spectre silhouette touched up with Needles’ colors and motifs for a revitalization of the skate shoe.

Needles x Schott NYC (FW23)

Needles tapped NYC’s iconic leather manufacturer Schott for a 2-piece collaboration. The leather track jacket and track pant are simple but subtly luxurious, featuring cowhide leather from top to bottom, as well as embroidered purple motifs from both brands.