johnlawrencesullivan-ss-2011-8Lookbook by John Lawrence Sullivan

Arashi Yanagawa, the designer behind John Lawrence Sullivan is not your typical designer. Following in his father’s footsteps, Arashi Yanagawa spent thirteen years in professional boxing before making way into the fashion world. As a reference to his first career, the brand name comes from a pro boxing legend John Lawrence Sullivan (October 15, 1858 – February 2, 1918), the first heavyweight champion in the history of boxing from 1881 to 1892.

The brand’s beginning was humble, starting out in 2003 with Arashi Yanagawa using his fight money to release his first collection of two blazers. Gaining popularity with his Men’s and Women’s lines, John Lawrence Sullivan appeared on the runway for the first time in 2007 at the Tokyo fashion week which was then followed by a flagship store in Nakameguro Tokyo.

Sleek silhouettes and fine tailoring using refined fabrics, is one obvious way to describe the qualities of John Lawrence Sullivan’s collections, but there is no doubt that the designer’s strong will and enthusiasm towards fashion adds a whole new dimension to the designs. Dazed Digital asked what his career change was like and if boxing still influences him:

“I never went to fashion school, it was very hard at the beginning but my friends understood my enthusiasm in fashion and supported me, so I’ve learnt by them so many things.”

“It’s natural that I am influenced by boxing”, “because I practiced boxing for so many years. The most important and biggest influence is the spirit to keep challenging myself.” – Arashi Yanagawa

Arashi Yanagawa is already a huge inspiration to many young fashion designers in Japan getting ready to break ground to a new era of  Japanese fashion. His existence is especially encouraging to the new generation of Japanese designers who like him do not have formal degrees in fashion design.

With their 2010-11 F/W collection, John Lawrence Sullivan bid farewell to Tokyo to set ground in Paris. They made their runway debut with F/W 2011 Men’s collection at the Paris Fashion Week.

For more information on their full collection, please visit the official John Lawrence Sullivan website at

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Tags: Arashi Yanagawa, John Lawrence Sullivan, Lookbook, Paris Fashion Week

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