Japanese Fashion Brand Profile: ato

It’s a well-known adage that money can’t buy you taste- but if you stroll in Ato Matsumoto’s Tokyo fashion store, it’s entirely possible to walk out with a little bit of rockstar style.

Founded in 1993, the brand ato (usually spelt with a lower case a) began life as a relatively high end men’s urban fashion label, located in the Tokyo district of Aoyama. Ato’s designs, which have since 2003 expanded to encompass a women’s collection, exquisitely marry functionality and form, often with edgy stylistic flourishes. Though ato produces male and female collections, the brand goes beyond basic masculine and feminine lines, allowing the wearer to express their own personality through their clothes. Ato tends to favour a broadly conservative, minimalist aesthetic, it’s not unknown for very bright and daring pieces to be scattered into their collections.

Ato produces accessories and clothing, but is perhaps best known internationally for their distinctive urban sport shoe lines. In 2007, the brand was given a huge pinch of celebrity sparkle when hip-hop superstar Kanye West was spotted in ato footwear, instantly recognizable by the swirly logo the brand imprints on the side of every shoe, creating a whole new cult following for the shoes amongst fans of urban fashion.

With popular pieces such Ato’s cow hide boot selling for upwards of $500, getting a premium piece from this coveted footwear line doesn’t come cheap, but ato devotees are more than willing to pay whatever it takes to make their own unique style statement.