Last year in October we’ve had our first London pop-up where we’ve sold the first batch of LF clothing & nice stuff forever.
This year we’ll be rolling our new streetwear and nichewear faster (and better) than before. For now the plan is to be able to host three major temporary stores every year and sell online worldwide at decent delivery rates.
We’ve been in Tokyo for a quick 7 day tour of what’s happening. What you’ll find in many guides is sort of outdated, so we’ve made our own selection.
Tokyo’s a huge city, you could practically visit it for one year straight and find stuff you’ve never seen before. You can see that many of the subcultures that were used to portray ‘shocking crazy’ Japan are doing pretty well in the mainstream now.
What you’ll also see are the many obituaries of Tokyo street fashion. We’ve seen these in a few places, probably written by overly bored fashion journalists. Not spending a lot of time on these, just want to say that from the looks of it everything was alive & well.
Here’s a list of some of the places we've visited
1. Shibuya 109
3/10 Don’t go - This will pop up in many guides as the birthplace of gyaru. What is gyaru? Japanese Jersey Shore. Dickhead fashion that somehow was transformed into something interesting by japanese style & finesse. You won’t miss anything here.
2. Dover Street Market Tokyo
6/10 worth visiting - the Tokyo version of the legendary London multi-brand retailer. Pretty nice, you’ll be able to see a nice selection of local and super famous designers.
3. Every BAPE store
8/10 definitely go - ‘A bathing ape’ is kind of a phenomenon in Tokyo. You might have listened to Teriaky Boys while playing NFS in your teens or 20s. Well, their DJ is world famous Nigo. Nigo is a low-key kinda guy for all the things he’s done. In ’93 he started BAPE in Ura-Harajuku, one of the areas that would be the most interesting places in terms of fashion.
BAPE is exclusively streetwear, the kind of stuff you’d see Pharell Williams or Kanye dressed in when they started out. People who Nigo knows very well and collaborated with. In fact, he co-owns Bilionaire Boys Club with Pharell and is also the creative director of the highly visionary UT Uniqlo division. Make sure you visit the BAPE store near Aoyama.
8/10 be sure to visit - Beams has a lot of stores all over Tokyo. They master a really extensive and well thought of collection of clothing and objects. They’re pretty huge and a good place to find niche brands that you’ve never heard of. They recently did a collab with UK lifestyle store GOODHOOD on a couple of kick-ass t-shirts and long-sleeves.
Now, a thing about most Tokyo fashion stores - they have a culture of collaboration different that anything we’ve been before. Usually when you do collabs in the European-UK area or in the US they’re this big thing between similar parties. Usually it’s a well established brand that works with an less known and more visionary one. It’s a highly rational process where the established brand pluses on hype and the less known brand or artist gets recognition.
In Tokyo it’s really a whole lot different. Nothing like that is valid. You’ll see Uniqlo doing a tshirt collab with an electronics store just because they’re in the same building. You’ll see brands that you think could never do something together, but well, in Tokyo they do. It’s different from what we’ve seen before and it doesn’t seem to be motivated by rational commercial decisions, but rather by the need to make something new. So, visit Beams to get a little feel of that. And read this interview by Yo Shitara, their founder: https://amuse-i-d.vice.com/beams-a-company-in-the-image-of-its-maker/
5. Journal Standard
7/10 would visit - Kinda similar to Beams, Journal Standard has lots of stores. Most of them are thematic - they have women’s wear, streetwear, some of them have a more elegant selection, some have furniture. Unlike most monolithic western stores (think any fast fashion retailer), they have separate stores in various areas of the city. You can see 3 or 4 Journal Standards on the same street, each with their own selection.
Journal Standard is part of one huge corporation (Baycrew Group) which also hosts a number of other fashion and food businesses across town.
6. Second hand luxury stores
8/10 you need to visit - Another area where Tokyo is way different that anything we’ve seen before is their second-hand culture. Forget the overpriced London thrift store full of smelly jackets. Forget second hand stores where they sell by the kilo. Tokyo managed to make clothing recycling into the coolest thing you can think of. They are the only city that seems to have a genuine second hand culture. Most of the stores are buy-and-sell, meaning that after you pay a kazillion dollars and get tired of your luxury item you can go there and sell it. Each of the pieces are carefully labeled. The things you can find over there can get you a fashion collector wardrobe on a budget. Well, most of them, the really good pieces are pretty expensive, so it’s a whole different way of looking at already worn clothing.
7/10 worth a visit - This is actually what Shibuya 109 was supposed to be. It's basically a shopping center with all kinds of niche stores focused on various Tokyo clothing subcultures. It's really close to Ura-Harajuku (probably the most interesting area to visit for clothing enthusiasts). It's a mainstream spot but compared to other stuff that we found in guides it's way more interesting.
Next post will be about the smaller brands we've went to. These are actually the ones that give the Tokyo scene its complexity.