High end urban mens and womenswear with an edge
ato (アトウ), founded in 1993 by designer Ato Matsumoto is a modern and stylish menswear label. Praised for urban apparel, Ato is reminiscent of Dior Homme and other European menswear labels. While ato can be edgy, the brand’s designs are often a bit conservative. A womenswear line was added in 2003.
In July 1997, Matsumoto held his first overseas exhibition at CVDC, Paris and started to sell his line internationally, mainly in Europe and the US. In July 2000, ato presented its collection in Paris for the first time.
The brand’s focus is on simple close-to-the-body shapes that show off the body, traditionally not common in Japan to do. In an interview with the New York Times in 1999, John Storey of CVDC said that Matsumoto “uses the body as the basis for its design and prefers to accentuate rather than hide it as kimono couture does. This isn’t to be overtly sexy or macho, but to allow the wearer to feel and be aware of his body through the clothes.”
In 2007, American artist, producer and designer Kanye West started wearing ato hi-top sneakers, bringing the brand much additional name recognition outside Japan.