Let’s learn more… about h.Naoto!

Did you know that h.NAOTO once dabbled in cyber fashion? Do you understand what all the different brands under the h.NAOTO umbrella are about? Have no fear, it’s time for some…

This month, Let’s Learn More brings you indepth knowledge about an empire in the Japanese fashion world- h.NAOTO! Known and beloved for his gothic brands like h.NAOTO Blood, or his turn in the lolita world FRILL, the world of h.NAOTO is vast, extensive… and has some dark and dirty secrets to reveal! 😮 To find out more, read on!

naoto

The Designer/Founder

Naoto Hirooka, born in 1977, graduated from Bunka Design College and entered S-Inc in 1999. In 2000, he debuted his original brand “h.Naoto”, which featured punk sensibilities and design styles. The brand has since expanded to include a huge range of other subbrands that encompass a variety of styles, including visual kei, natural kei, punk, lolita, gothic aristocrat, men’s fashion and more.

Above photo of Naoto Hirooka from the Tokyo Look Book, originally scanned by Shu.

Celebrity Endorsements

naoto_amy2 As a designer, h.NAOTO is much sought after by celebrities to design clothes and other paraphernalia. Perhaps one of the most famous collaborations he has ever done was in 2004 with Evanescence’s Amy Lee, who wore a dress that they designed together to the 2004 Grammy Awards. He also worked with GACKT in the same year, producing costumes for his concert tours and a unique design for Gackt’s guitar.

Most recently, h.NAOTO has worked with LUNA SEA guitarist SUGIZO, and famed producer (X-JAPAN) YOSHIKI to produce prints and other fashionwear.

Above photo of Amy Lee holding dress from s-inc blog.

Sub-brands

Over the years, h.NAOTO has debuted and discontinued many different brands under his line of clothing. Here’s a list of as many as I could dredge up, but do note that it’s by no means exhaustive. If you know of any other brands that I haven’t listed, please do feel free to let me know!

h.Naoto

The main line of the h.Naoto empire. The brands in this line are designed by the man himself.
naoto_seven
  • NAOTO SEVEN

The SEVEN line is what Naoto himself calls the “Art Mode”. Classified as “GOTHIC”, the clothing in this line is deconstructed and caters largely to men.

Photo: ゴシック★SEVEN七つの大罪ムラ染めカットソー茶灰M/h.NAOTO

naoto_blood
  • h.NAOTO Blood

“The Ancient, Pure, Gothic style”. A brand highly beloved by Elegant Gothic Aristocrats (EGA). The line features elegant, mostly black clothing which suits the EGA aesthetic.

Photo: ゴシック★Bloodアシンメトリーロングジャケット黒M/h.NAOTO

naoto_drr
  • DARK RED RUM

DARK RED RUM is a highly stylised line of clothing which features torn edges and uneven hems. Naoto describes this brand as “occult punk”. Arguably fits into the “goth punk” genre.

Photo: ゴスパンク★DRR退廃ゴシックテイスト浴衣黒M/h.NAOTO

naoto_anarchy
  • h.ANARCHY

Inspired by punk and visual kei, h.ANARCHY is the brand that is most similar to what Naoto originally produced. Originally characterised by a red distressed print on black material, the brand has since evolved with the times, but still maintains its original punk roots.

Photo: パンク☆ANARCHYガーゼカットシャツ赤黒M/h.NAOTO

naoto_nois
naoto_nois2
  • HN+nois

HN+nois collects accessories from all the brands under the h.NAOTO line (not to be confused with the GRAMM, Sixh., MeLT etc lines). While brand-specific accessories can be placed under this category (eg, punk collars from h.ANARCHY or frilly bags from h.jelly), there are also HN+nois-only accessories.

Photo (top): パンク☆nois蜘蛛の巣ボディバッグ黒白F/h.NAOTO
Photo (bottom) : ゴスロリ♪noisリボンチャームミニハット黒F/h.NAOTO

GRAMM

The GRAMM line, named for a purposeful mispelling of the name Grimm (as in The Brothers Grimm) used to be an offshoot of FRILL but has now turned into an entire line by itself.
Visit GRAMM web

naoto_gramm

  • GRAMM

GRAMM examines the interaction of story, fairytale and fashion. Designed by designer Z8 (ZIAN) and illustrator Z9 (ZIKU), the GRAMM collection has a ethereal, natural-kei feel.

Photo: ゴスロリ♪GRAMMお花のラッフルワンピース白M/h.NAOTO

naoto_wholokyu

  • GRAMM ダレロキュ


The Dare Lokyu (Who’s Lokyu?) line is based on the main character of the GRAMM illustrated story.

Photo: ゴスロリ♪GRAMMおやすみロキュのバッグ黒紫F/h.NAOTO

naoto_frill
  • h.NAOTO FRILL

FRILL fits most into the lolita aesthetic out of all the brands. While FRILL specialises in the Gothic Lolita genre, occasionally the whitexpink pieces may take an unexpected sweet turn, with the signature Naoto twist.

Photo: ゴスロリ♪FRILLおリボン刺繍ワンピース黒桃M/h.NAOTO

Sixh.


Named for being the “sixth sense beyond the five senses”, the Sixh. line was born from Naoto’s “h.ism” project, which examines the interaction between fashion and music. In 2007, the young fashion duo IBI and MINT created the new genre “ghost-kei”, or gothic + host-kei, and Sixh. was born.
Visit Sixh. web

  • Sixh. IBI


Inspired mostly by the Visual scene, IBI’s line embodies the visual-gothic-host look.

Photo: V系◆Sixh. IBIグラフィック4点コーデセット黒F/h.NAOTO

  • Sixh. MINT


Based on the theme of ninjas (?!), MINT’s line is a symbol of the cool Japan. I didn’t make the part up about ninjas, by the way, it’s actually part of the brand description. You can see the influences clearly in the clothing though.

Photo: Sixh. ストール付きカットソー /h.NAOTO

naoto_mint
  • Sixh. MINT Neko

MINT Neko is a line of characters created by designer MINT. For a full list of all the Nekos in the collection, visit the MINT Neko website to have a look at their names and personalities.

Photo: V系◆Sixh.でかいネコロングカットソー黒M/h.NAOTO

naoto_617
  • Sixh. 617

A collaboration line between Sixh. (6), and popular models/hosts 一条誠 (1) and 皐月星七 (7) from Men’s Spider. This line (pronounced Six-Seventeen) seems to be largely for women. I’m not sure if this a special collaboration or a semi-permanent one, at least.

Photo: V系◆Sixh. 617ロックプリンセスタンク黒M/h.NAOTO

MeLT


Strictly speaking, the MeLT range of items now belongs to the Sixh. line (the line was subsumed into Sixh. in 2010), but is characteristic enough to deserve a section of its own. Helmed by Takeuchi Mika, the MeLT items use butterflies and roses as its main theme, and its signature colours are deep purple on black.
Visit MeLT website

naoto_honey

  • Honey

The main clothing line of the MeLT range, Honey, now absorbed under just “MeLT” in the Sixh. line, takes a mix between koakuma kei- the “devilish cuteness and sexiness” made popular by magazine Ageha, and gothic lolita. It results in a sort of… cute gothic look? It’s quite hard to describe this…

Photo: セクシー系★MelTオフショルダーワンピース黒桃M/h.NAOTO

naoto_rooms

  • h.NAOTO RooMs


Naturally, the RooMs line is about h.Naoto furniture and other interior decoration items.

Photo: ROOMS レースフリル付カーテン(大)/h.NAOTO

Hangry & Angry

The Hangry & Angry line is helmed by designer/illustrator Gashicon. There is a story about the adventures of these two little kittens; one of whom is a punk, the other a lolita.
Visit Hangry and Angry web.

  • HANGRY&ANGRY

Hangry and Angry, two little cats on an adventure. These two are the original mascots with their own story and comic. There are plenty of plushies in this line, but the clothing features prints of the two cats. Fun fact: plushies of Hangry&Angry were in Misamisa’s room in the Japanese movie Death Note. (They hang from her mirror and line the walls.)

Photo: HANGRY&ANGRY☆怪物シリーズネコ耳フーディ黒白M/h.NAOTO

naoto_haf

  • HANGRY&ANGRY F


The F stands for “Future”. You may also have heard of the electro-rock artist duo Hangry & Angry, who are embodiments of Hangry & Angry F. (PS, they used to be from Morning Musume!) I’m not sure if they are also characters in the original Hangry & Angry universe.

Photo: HANGRY&ANGRY F☆CD「KillMeKissMe」/h.NAOTO

naoto_halegend

  • HANGRY&ANGRY Legend


The characters of the Legend line are essentially the Sixh. designers IBI and MINT in the cat plushie form. These two new cats are Lord IBIgry and Devil MINgry.

Photo: HANGRY&ANGRY☆IBIgryポストカード青F/h.NAOTO

gouk

While the gouk line is a significant proportion of the s-inc/h.NAOTO empire, I will only touch briefly on it as gouk is a largely contemporary line which does not tie into the lolita/punk aesthetic.

naoto_gouk naoto_sumi naoto_kikou

  • gouk

The gouk line blends contemporary fashion and the Japanese aesthetic together. The entire line comes in a range of different flavours, with HIME (Japanese print fabric) and sumi (print evoking sumi-e, Japanese brush strokes) embodying the elegance of Japanese tradition; and HANA (a retro feel) and ai (denim line) presenting a warm, nostalgia of heartful Japan. Also included in gouk are bokuu, a men’s line, and kikou, an accessory collection similar to what HN+nois is for h.NAOTO.

Photos, from left:
和風・和柄服◇フェミニンモードパーティワンピ灰紫M/gouk
和風・和柄服◆sumi白木蓮と満月のワンピース黒M/gouk
和雑貨◇kikou和柄編み上げマフラー青黒F/gouk

Discontinued Brands


Here are some of the bigger/more interesting brands are now no longer continued. This list is non-exhaustive and certainly goes on and on!

  • Channel H.


Inspired by anime and manga, this brand featured cat ears, animal paws and more in the signature h.NAOTO punk style. I believe this was discontinued only very recently, so you might be able to get some of the items from this brand second-hand rather easily.

Photo: Channel H. Parka

naoto_jelly
  • h.jelly

h.jelly features short flirty skirts and bustiers, similar to the koakuma or little devil style. I’m actually a bit confused about the history of h.jelly, Honey and MeLT. While the h.jelly line is quite distinctly different from the Honey line, I remember a period of time when the brand was collectively called h.jelly&Honey. Right now, the MeLT range of items is much more Honey than h.jelly, so I’m going to leave this in here and call it discontinued.

Photo: ロリパンク♪jellyコルセットワンピース黒青M/h.NAOTO

  • Rockers H. Baby

As you might guess, this brand features a 50’s American rock look; so riders jackets, etc.
This brand dealt predominantly with menswear; it had a sister brand Bike & Bike Blues under the MeLT range, which is essentially a female biker fashion brand.

I’m also guessing that this is related to brands Rock ‘N’ Roll Baby and Rolling West Baby, but I’m not sure if they are actually one and the same. In any case, Rockers H and Rock ‘N’ Roll had products in the market at the same time, so at the very least these two are different brands. The rockabilly look was (is?) quite popular in Japan for a period of time, so these might have been brands featuring the rock look for different sections of the market.

Top photo: Rockers H. Baby – Fashion Spread from h.NAOTO’s hm3 Special
Bottom photo: Bike & Bike Blues- s-inc blog

  • HN+die

Generally this is more street fashion done with a Naoto twist. I’ve seen it as recent as 2009, so this is another recently discontinued brand that may have been subsumed into one of the other h.NAOTO lines. HN+die also has a sister brand for ladies’ wear, DIE.PINK.

Top photo: HN+DIE h.naoto悪魔的サーマルニットセーター /RAKUTEN
Bottom photo: DIE.PINK – S-inc blog

  • Qupid H

Children’s line! Aren’t the tiny punk mannequins adorable? I would say that this line for kids corresponds most strongly to Channel H and perhaps FRILL.

Photo: S-INC blog photo

  • h.NAOTO EAST

An interesting line that is largely influenced by East Asia. So plenty of dragons and kimono inspired pieces.

Photo: Hh.NAOTO EAST コルセット付き振袖着物ワンピース /RAKUTEN

  • Blood Modernica

As the name of the brand kind of suggests- the Blood Modernica range was a “contemporary gothic” look – so probably more similar to the London Goths. Quite sure that it’s spelt like that, and the image has a typo.

Photo: Scan from S-inc blog

  • hb. RooTs

According to MeLT website, RooTs is still part of the lineup, but I haven’t seen any ads or pieces from RooTs for a while. So I’ve put it in here. The RooTs line is similar to GRAMM in that it features long dresses and uses similar materials, but the items come in brighter colours like pink, purple and orange. I see some tribal influences in there, as if these are… mori girls from the tropical rainforest? (No, I don’t know what I’m talking about either.)

Photo: Photo from S-inc blog

  • AmbienT

Probably a predecessor stylistically to the GRAMM line, or a menswear relative. This line featured browns, distressed looks.

Photo: Photo from S-inc blog

  • Gold Gang Star

Supposedly this brand is influenced by the streets of Harlem and black culture, but to be honest I don’t see it from this picture I managed to dredge up from the histories of the s-inc blog. Perhaps in the denim, which has gold distressed print on it.

Photo: Photo from S-inc blog

  • D.O.A.

According to articles on the s-inc blog, D.O.A stands for “Dead or Alive”. D.O.A. draws its influences from military and other work gear, such as mechanics jumpsuits and etc. The brand also had a sister brand Pink Camoflauge under the MeLT range, which dealt with… military wear for girls. (I swear I don’t make this stuff up.)

Top photo: Scan from Kera Maniax
Bottom photo: Pink Camoflauge – s-inc blog

  • h.Juliette

h.Juliette was h.NAOTO’s way of catering to the “L-sized crowd” (his words, not mine). Yup, this is the plus-sized range! The clothing in this line was very similar to Blood, as far as I can tell.

Photo: Photo from S-inc blog

  • SF Science Fucking

Please allow me to say at this time that it was a pain in the behind to even find a mention of this brand online. It was by chance that I found a scan of this brand feature. As you can see, this brand dealt largely with the cyber fashion, similar to FÖTUS.

Photo: Photo from S-inc blog

  • XXX Rubber

However, if it was difficult to find pictures of Science F***ing, I would say that XXX Rubber truly takes the cake. As Shu says, XXX Rubber is like the deformed child that ashamed mothers hide in their attics and never let out. It is like its existence was wiped out on the Internet. The only reason why I am sure that this brand exists, is that it is mentioned in h.NAOTO catalogues from 2004/05.

The pictures you see on the left are actually of h.Anarchy cutsews, but the PRINT on the tees is a picture of a model wearing clothing from the infamous XXX Rubber line. Yes, even up to now I still have yet to find an actual picture of XXX Rubber clothes items, and I dare say that my Google-fu is very strong. But perhaps it’s been wiped for good reason – XXX Rubber was based on hardcore BDSM and pornography themes.

Photo: Photos from S-inc blog

And with that, we end our special feature on h.NAOTO! If you have any further information to add to the post, any corrections to make to my information, or know of some brand that I didn’t mention in my feature, do let me know in the comments! Cheers!

Please appreciate that a lot of hard work and research went into this post. In particular, I have spent literally days searching for any signs and evidence of that ridiculous brand XXX Rubber because I was so determined to see its existence for myself. ;A; If you wish to share the information on this post, please do direct them to Macaron Hearts instead of cutting and pasting my post elsewhere! Thank you!

Above information with help from
S-Inc
Interview from Tokyo Look Book, posted on EGL

Thu, January 27 2011 »

11 comments on to “Let’s learn more… about h.Naoto!”

  1. Shu says:

    The mother of all h.Naoto posts! You did it!! You catalogued all the regular children and deformed ones in the Naoto attic! This post of yours really is a labour of both love and slightly dysfunctional research obsession XD

  2. Caro says:

    Oh wow! Thank you for this! This must have take a lot of work! I am a big Naoto fan but even I could never manage something like this!

    I have once run across something being sold as “Naoto Petite” or something like that, I assume it was a Petite line? The piece I saw was similar to Channel H stuff. I’m asking you, because you have obviously done your homework, but was this a real Naoto line, or just a mislabel :O?

    • Alanna says:

      Hi Caro!
      Thanks for your compliments, it did take quite a bit of work, and I think I now know more about the Naoto brands than I ever really needed to… lol.

      Now that you mention it, I did leave out the brand that you’re referring to. I believe you’re referring to “petit NAO”, which is actually a juniors line and corresponds most strongly to h.Anarchy, although the petit NAO line is more casual.

      Thanks for the reminder! I shall update the post when I next have time!

  3. Rebecca says:

    This post is AMAZING. I wish I had more friends into the alternative fashion scene so I could send this to all of them!

    As far as celebrity endorsements go, two ex-members from the golden age of Morning Musume (a {once} super-popular gril-group) formed a band and play as the characters Hangry and Angry. The two are Yoshizawa Hitomi and Ishikawa Rika.
    http://zbsatozofjmusic.s3.amazonaws.com/azimages/hangry_and_angry.jpg

    • Alanna says:

      Hi Rebecca, thanks for your comments! I’ve actually mentioned Hangry and Angry the band in the H&A section, so I left them out in the celebrity endorsements section! As far as I can make out, they’re actually part of the h.Naoto enterprise, so I don’t think they’re actually “endorsements” per se.

  4. Ryumaho says:

    I have to say, this has been one of the best and most extensive overviews of this brand that I have ever read. This was perfect timing too. I have a few friends that have begun to ask about all my “eccentric” wear, as they have termed it lovingly, so I will send them this way!

  5. zeiro0 says:

    This was amazing. I love the Naoto clothes and I never imagined there were so many. It must have taken forever to do all this research. Thank you!

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