AKIRA’S INFLUENCE ON FASHION AND STREETWEAR

It has been thirty years since the début of Akira and we still haven’t stopped talking about the movie. It is recognised as one of the most influential animes in history and as we’re currently we’re waiting for the more than likely live-action Hollywood remake (allegedly under the direction of New Zealander Taika Waititi), it wouldn’t be out of place to go over the importance of the movie nowadays, not only in the film industry, but also in music, fashion and inside of this in the world of streetwear.

For those of you who don’t know the plot, we’ll tell you that the story is set precisely in 2019, thirty years after a fictitious nuclear explosion, in the rebuilt city of Neo Tokyo. That is where a gang of bikers led by Kaneda and his famous red jacket, faces a rival gang and when one of their members, Tetsuo, ends up getting injured. This is only the beginning of a haunted story in which dark governmental organisations, experiments of dubious legality and supernatural powers mix; in a cyberpunk dystopia that explores the alienation of youth in a post-nuclear disaster apathetic society that is ruled by science and technology, and whose narrative can be difficult to follow.

It was precisely this kind of themes that made a whole group of people who knew nothing about anime and thought it was just for kids fall in love with it. Akira was revolutionary and visionary in every respect, as it even predicted the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but the director Katsuhiro Otomo never could have imagined how successful the movie would become.

And aesthetically-speaking we can’t neglect the level of detail achieved in each frame, which makes it hard to believe that it was hand-painted, using 327 colours (which was the record at the time) and creating 50 new colours, among them the famous “Akira red”. This was the reason why it was considered the most expensive anime ever made at the time, with a budget of ten million dollars. This way Akira has become an iconic movie that has managed to create a unique style, that has even influenced tons of artists from different disciplines. Among which is Kanye West, who is the self-declared number one fan of the film and who used it as inspiration for the music video of his song Stronger (2007).

Like other animes, whether it be Pokémon with GCDS or Dragon Ball Z with adidas, Akira has inspired many fashion brands, Loewe, Kenzo, and especially streetwear. For example, Comme des Garçons sold a few years ago in their Aoyama, Tokyo store a line of tote bags with illustrations that were inspired by the movie. And in the world of streetwear, Supreme released two years ago a collection with drawings from the original manga and last year Undercover teamed up with Otomo to create a t-shirt for the premiere of Wes Anderson’s film Isle of Dogs . And this year to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Akira, the production company will officially start selling the emblematic Kaneda red leather jacket. What other brands will end up paying tribute to the most influential anime in history?

Supreme
Loewe
Loewe
Comme des Garçons
Comme des Garçons
Nana-Nana