The illustrations are so fascinating because they are the exact opposite of what these sketches usually look like – and symbolize
Illustrations in the context of style are usually the purview of designers at major fashion houses whose sketches are for clothes that are unlikely to ever be worn by anyone who doesn’t walk the catwalk for a living. This is probably the main reason why I couldn’t resist looking at a recent post on the Male Fashion Advice subreddit highlighting six menswear illustrators who draw sketches of what they and their friends are wearing – that is, they draw everyday people and everyday cups, not things that only a handful of people will be able to access.
For example, Osamu draws characters that look like they’re straight out of a Charlie Brown or Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, but pays special attention to the style of the character’s clothing. In one of his latest illustrations, taken from a recent outfit he wore at Tokyo Disneyland (it’s from Japan), Osamu’s cartoon is wearing a Batten Wear six-panel denim cap, a Champion sweatshirt 1980s reverse weave, Erick Hunter denim shorts, Hungarian army socks and N991 New Balances. Additionally, in a separate illustration, Osamu’s avatar has a Saint James Morlaix striped shirt underneath his Champion sweatshirt.
He even took the time to illustrate what else he packed for the trip: Hollywood Stretch Market Ranch trunks and Hanes Beefy t-shirts. “His illustrations, while slightly simpler, are very straightforward,” writes original editor/poster LeBronBryantJames. “He also does his best to translate it into English as well, as well as providing information such as links, sizes, etc. Very detailed ! His style tends to reflect trendy men in their 30s and 50s in Japan.
Personally, I really like the sketches by Japanese illustrator Hayama, who has separate accounts for men’s and women’s clothing. “It typically covers casual and sometimes business casual Japanese men, usually popular trends among the 20s to 40s age groups,” says LeBronBryantJames. “Half the time it’s illustrations of real people that are tagged in photos.”
Of course, not all illustrators’ attention to detail is so meticulous. Yeong Han’s focus seems to be more on the overall vibe of an outfit. His illustrations resemble Hayao Miyazaki’s character if that character was seen queuing outside a Supreme store. The details here are mostly in Korean — Han is from Korea — but according to LeBronBryantJames, “you can find sizing info, brand info, and tags.”
The thing is, the words are a bit out of place. Sure, some (or all) of them may be in Japanese or Korean, but they speak a universal language far more than anyone doing this kind of illustration, whether English is their primary language or not.