わたしは東京ストリートファッションを誇らしく思っている。それは、この10年、自分のキャリアに欠かせないもので、沢山のことを教えてくれた。言わば、人生の一部。そして、ブルックリンの一角でひっそりと行われたショー。そこでは東京ストリートを引っ張る 10 のブランドが注目を浴びていた。わたしの前には素晴らしい光景が広がっていた。下に続くレポートで、東京ストリートカルチャーの多様性が少しでも伝わって欲しい！
Recently, a rather interesting milestone occurred. It may not be a game changer in the grand scheme of the fashion world, but it is something I am extremely proud of and it sure taught me more about my life’s work (which is Tokyo-based street-style) than anything in the past 10 years of my career. It was a teensy humble show in a corner of Brooklyn, which saw 10 totally different Tokyo underground street styles together on one runway. It was fantastic, and I hope you’ll go through it with me and see how varied the street culture of Tokyo really is.
I just got off a Skype interview with accessories and costume designer KiNG. She regaled me with her experience in Paris last month, at the “Colette Carnaval” which she and a handful of Tokyo’s edgiest shops and brands banded together to set up shop for the two-day festival.
We all know that Colette is not only one of the most most experimental shops in Paris, but in all of Europe…. so it goes as no surprise that a Colette carnival is not your ordinary one (think bowling for fun, and instead of cotton candy you’ve got Laduree macarons. Yes, please!). And when it came to “little Tokyo” within the 1km-long tents set up in a park near the Louvre, patrons were given something different than the usual sushi or kokeshi souvenir doll fare.
For their shopping, they could choose from KiNG, Garter, Hayatochiri, DOG, GIZA, Faline, and SHINe. I wonder if all this overload of personality just cancels themselves out to zilch??! Never!
KiNG attended the event and said it was invaluable experience in showing at a place like “Colette Carnaval”
“It’s not like small brands like ours can just participate in things like this anytime we wish. But I think big brands are seeing the potential in our generation in how we create things true to ourselves and unique to our viewpoints. This time Casio helped us out because they see the differences in us and respect it. In fact it was such a success that we are looking to do it again and maybe in some other cities!”
Near the end of our conversation we started talking about the generation gap among designers.
“I think the younger designers are about doing things collectively and banding together to make things bigger. If you were to talk to designers of my generation (she’s only in her 30s!) they would prefer to do things alone. With what we did at Colette, it was like a family, and we respect each other and what we do so much.”
Speaking of that, I can’t recall who said it to me, but I was interviewing a big Japanese designer and they complained that designers in Japan don’t support each other enough. I didn’t think he had it right at all, but now I see he probably was speaking with experience and totally right.
She also talked about how this banding together is what is creating the street movement in Japan and making it bigger-which benefits everyone.
“It’s just like the cubism movement. It became huge because there were all these artists doing it, and from there some became especially famous like Picasso. Maybe that’s what will happen.”
So after meeting 30,000 carnaval-goers, what did KiNG take away from it?
“We can’t do our business like a stone-faced salaryman. That’s not what we represent. I’ve been designing for 17 years now and I see that having people on the street is a million times faster to achieving success.”
Check out the photos of Parisians and Tokyo localites trying on the Reebok costumes, uber-studded jackets, crazy sunglasses and more…you can take the street fashion out of Tokyo, but you can’t take the Tokyo out of the street fashion.
YOHO is the primo fashion and culture magazine for discerning Chinese in their 20s, and the numbers are crrrazy. 600k+ circulation, and passed among 7 people per issue. And they publish twice a month! When I was given the column, my idea was to go to some of Tokyo’s best shops loved by the street fashion aristocracy and talk to the cool girls and boys there about their style. In Japan, it is not unusual for a shop sales person to become a mini celebrity, with some of them being singled out and given their own brand. In the street scene, these people are the heroes, the leaders, and the are having fun and experimenting with style-here’s a look at them and their shops.
Edition #3 Kitakore Building
The first time I ventured out to Kitakore I didn’t actually get to go inside. What appeared to be entrances were shuttered…was it closed that day? I was totally lost…where were the doors? How many shops were there? What were they called? Who, what where, why?! I felt that it was almost like I needed to speak a secret code and perhaps a door would open for me. It was like some forbidden temple and all I could do was peer inside in a kind of horror… strange objects and stranger clothes staring back at me through the dark. I HAD TO GET IN!!
“This place doesn’t open until at least 3pm”, said a voice behind me.
I ended up leaving in defeat, but thank god because it built up in my mind this image of a fantastic place where they said “fuck you” to the rules (and the customers too…heh) and go their own way. When I finally had the chance to visit sometime later, it didn’t disappoint. The Kitakore Building in Koenji may be far from Harajuku and Shibuya, but that is exactly why the unique fashion here has been able to thrive and grow into it’s own unique style. It is also why this small “shopping mall” has become legendary. The shops inside each have their own distinct personality, but their extreme dedication to being avant garde and completely individual is their common denominator. Nearly every time I come here I end up buying something, like an old Versace belt, crazy sunglasses or other accessories. It’s a must-see for designers, and has been visited by quite a few stars…Jeremy Scott, Frieda Giannini of Gucci and Pharrel Williams to name drop just a few.
Come here and visit all of the shops; outside upstairs is Southpole by Nincompoop Capacity where you’ll meet Cathy, Hayatochiri is in the front (but was unfortunately closed on the day of our photoshoot). Inside the entrance at the back of the building are Secret DOG, GARTER and ilil, manned by Kae, Koshiro Ebata and Rachel respectively. There is also a gallery they built inside now that features some of the edgiest underground artists and designers in Tokyo (right now is NEON O’CLOCK WORKS). Upstairs is an atelier where Koshiro, Mademoiselle Yulia and other friends who rent desks put their hands to work making pieces for their original brands. In fact, all of these people you will find behind the counters at a table making something new and pushing the boundaries throughout the day.
For the shoot I was wearing a dress by DEFACE, designed by budding Canadian designer and friend Daphne Mohajer- it’s her first collection and it’s already being carried at GARTER. I would say that is something to brag about! The metallic arm cuff is by KiNG, and the purple one and rope necklace are by GIZA. The other necklaces can be found at GARTER and the glasses (which I love! HONTOU.) are from ilil.
この時私が着ていたのは、カナダ出身デザイナーと友人の Daphne MohajerのブランドDEFACEのドレス。これは彼女のファーストコレクションなのに即GARTERで取扱。めっちゃ自慢じゃない！それを彩るアクセサリー類は；メタリックのアームカフス by KiNG、パープルxゴールドのカフスとロープのネックレス by GIZA、それ以外のネックレス by GARTER、サングラス （好き！ホントウ！）by ilil。
Name: Koshiro Ebata Age: Secret What magazines have your street snaps been featured in? DROPTOKYO/WAD MAGAZINE/Numero TOKYO/CRACKER YOUR WORD ROBE MAGAZINE…etc
If you could sum up your personal style what would you call it? Super nerdy
How many pieces of clothes do you own? In my apartment I have one pair of jeans, one suit, about 20 t-shirts, 2 jackets and 2 pairs of shoes. If I want to dress up I wear what’s in my store.
How long does it take you to get dressed up in the morning? 1 minute.
Tell me what got you started with your shop GARTER It opened in April of 2009 when I was looking for a studio where I could make clothes and I got wind of this great space.
What do you usually do at the shop? I’m either making clothes or fixing up the interior. I don’t bother with customers much.
Can you tell me about some cool or surprising happenings you’ve encountered here? 1. The day we opened we all got so drunk that we ended up puking everywhere. The next day we had to close the store just to clean it all up. 2. I lend a lot of costumes for celebrities, but one time in particular I lent something to Lady Gaga and when it came back it came with one of her stick-on acrylic nails with it. Then, one of her fans came in and stole just the nail! 3. Mademoiselle Yulia rents space with me in the studio to make her brand GIZA and fashion editor Tiffany works with us too! But Tiffany moved to Paris recently which sucks…will miss her.
If you are abducted by aliens and can only bring one item from your shop, what would it be? This chain mask made by LEO CANDYCANE! I’ll use it to hide my real face and instead try and get the aliens to be friends with me.
名前：KOSHIRO EBATA 年齢： ヒミツ スナップ掲載暦： DROPTOKYO/WAD MAGAZINE/Numero TOKYO/CRACKER YOUR WORD ROBE MAGAZINE…etc
I was just mulling over the vastness of Tokyo today. The first time I came, circa 2002, I went up in the observatory at the Tocho Metropolitan building and I couldn’t believe how the city just went on and on for eons and a day. It’s as if the little clumps of buildings (each one surrounding a train station, natch) are copy-pasted and then given aesthetic surgery with Photoshop to give the city visual berth. Even ten years later, and as a pro who is supposed to know the WHOLE fashion landscape like the back of my hand, the city is still so big to me. There are nooks and crannies everywhere, and they hide amazing little boutiques and ateliers.
I often find myself giving merit to Tokyo when designers and other professionals are visiting and I get curious if they are aware of the majority of hip boutiques in their respective cities. Most say they know of most, if not all. But Tokyo is always surprising me with shops that just seem to appear out of nowhere. I fail at getting to Shimokitazawa or Kichijoji often enough, much less the East side “shita-machi” that are starting to boom now. The constantly evolving scene keeps me on my toes, my fingernails, my lashes…
Speaking of being kept on my toes, there is the notorious Kitakore Building in Koenji. It is a slight trip outside of the comfort of the Yamanote Loop, but it serves it well as only those who want to find it will be able to. A few years ago it was the most underground, secret jewel of a place… before Gucci’s Frida Giannini went there, before Jeremy Scott went there, before Pharrel went there… before Kitakore had a blog.
While it is far more well-known now, it is still the best place to pick up reasonably priced one of a kind pieces. There’s the selection of hand-made baubles for under 10,000 yen at Garter, Air-force1 sneakers attached to geta sandal blocks at Ilil and mouth masks made of so many lacquered cigarette butts at Hayatochiri they’ll give you lymphoma just looking at them. Then there’s Kae-san at secret DOG, who was yesterday busily working on another artistic piece. This time he was hand painting a camel trenchcoat with retro propaganda graphics. Then Southpole by Nincompoop Capacity is all vintage and re-worked girly goods. There was a steady stream of customers, all with a unique style all their own. It was a reminder at how give-and-take this organism is.
On that note, I leave you with this very cool video, which happened to be posted up yesterday. It’s a look at some of the most well-known street fashion icons in the city about theirs and Tokyo’s myriad of styles. There’s Nude Trump’s Yuri, Spank’s Tabuchi, DJ Yuki, model Sioux and more…