INTRODUCTION TO THE NUMBER (N)INE BRAND
Founded by Takahiro Miyashita in 1996, Number (N)ine is a Japanese fashion brand that created clothing inspired by American culture (Americana), military garments, and rock music. The brand was active for 12 strong years and cultivated a massive following in the fashion community.
One aspect of the brand's appeal within the archive fashion scene is its limited supply due to its short existence, having closed its doors after its Autumn Winter 2009 show but occasionally cropping up with the occasional capsule drop. This has contributed to consistent rising prices, as demand increases and supply diminishes over time.
KEY MOTIFS FOR NUMBER (N)INE?
Number (N)ine was often criticised for being unoriginal and derivative but it is hard to ignore Miyashita’s obsessive attention to detail, you will notice a lot of distressing on their tees and most garments will have music notes sewn into the interior.
Bullet-hole distressing is found on garments such as the “Tribal Camo Hoodie” and loose distressing is found on garments such as the tees in the SS04 “Give Peace a Chance Collection”; this style of distressing allows wearers to layer their Number (N)ine garments with other pieces and also achieves a ragged rockstar look.
It is important to note that Miyashita was rebellious during his youth and this directly inspired his design language, distressed garments elevated the non-conforming aesthetic he was likely trying to give off.
WHAT INSPIRED NUMBER (N)INE'S FOUNDER?
Takahiro Miyashita is amongst what was considered to be a new wave of Japanese fashion designers, his contemporaries being designers such as Jun Takahashi and Junya Watanabe. Unlike other emerging designers of his time, Miyashita had no formal education in fashion. He was the youngest child in a family of four and his initial style inspiration was reportedly his older brother and American films such as “Bad Boys” and “Rumble Fish”.
After dropping out of school at 16 Miyashita spent a vast majority of his time in Harajuku and Shibuya where he became increasingly enamoured with the world of fashion, often thrifting clothing which he would then distress and customise.
Miyashita’s first job in fashion was at Nepenthes and it was here where he would ameliorate his skills in creating garments.
The name Number (N)ine derives from the song “Revolution 9” by The Beatles where the phrase “Number 9” is repeated numerous times, interestingly the “(N)” in Number (N)ine is said to stand for Nepenthes and pays homage to Keizo Shizumu, the founder of Nepenthes. Moreover, when Number (N)ine is compared to its contemporaries such as Undercover, their musical influence is the most glaring in their clothing.
THE SUCCESS OF NUMBER (N)INE
Number (N)ine’s first few years of activity helped Miyashita gain a cult following in Japan, unfortunately there is very little information on the collections produced but it is known that they were shown in Japan. Number (N)ine’s first flagship store was located in Ebisu, Japan. The store had a wild-west with a gothic touch .
Miyashita wanted to create an atmosphere that represented his home and his mind, this is a good example of his obsessive attention to detail. The store was adorned with speakers, customised dolls, many different types of skulls, Number (N)ine garments and jewellery. There was always some context to an item you would find in the store, for example the customised dolls found sitting on a bench likely payed homage to Clive Barker’s horror dolls with buttoned eyes. Additionally, one of the many skulls found in the store was a skull used by a Tibetan monk, they used it to pray and its creepy presence complimented the vibe of the store spectacularly.
NUMBER (N)INE DISCONTINUED
In a 2008 interview with Armand Limnander from The New York Times, Miyashita says “I still believe that music can change culture. I just made a song named ‘Dark Shadow’, the lyrics say ‘Please, please, please kill me’ all my work, whether it’s in fashion on music, is about rebellion and not being conventional.” This statement is a great summary of what Number (N)ine was intended to be, a non-conforming fashion brand that uses music and experiences to elevate its aesthetic.
Practically every Number (N)ine collection took inspiration from either a personal experience of Miyashita or a song. Number (N)ine’s last collection by Takahiro Miyashita, AW09 “A Closed Feeling”, was a collection that took inspiration from Miyashita’s stay at an Alaskan hotel where he became very depressed and isolated.
The pieces in this collection were derivative of the furniture and decorations in the room he was isolated in and Japanese magazine EyeScream dedicated an issue to Number (N)ine in light of this collection. The dark colour palette and raw edged clothing in this collection made it one of Number (N)ine’s most coveted and intricate collections ever, and fans were shocked to hear that this would be Miyashita’s last collection at the brand.
WHY IS NUMBER (N)INE EXPENSIVE?
Because the brand was discontinued in 2009, the items are becoming rarer and hard to find. This means that pieces from the brand Number (N)ine can often be seen online for multiple thousands. This is also driven by a growing cult following of the brand. The fact that the brand is discontinued elevates it's archive status as well as demand.
WHERE TO BUY NUMBER (N)INE
Number (N)ine is becoming increasingly rare and hard to find. By downloading the Truss App here you may find hundreds of coveted Number (N)ine items available online.