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.
Last night I dropped by Tsukikageya, a rather unique shop, to check out the new textiles for their signature “punk” yukata, cotton PJs and silk jackets.
This brand makes traditional Japanese clothing with a modern-retro twist…think brash and edgy. The style is inspired by the early “yankii” or Japanese motorcycle gangs called “bosozoku” of the 60s and 70s and their common motifs like tigers and money. (actually there are a LOT of bosozoku still making incredible noise and being altogether bothersome outside fo Tokyo today. Especially Kyoto. And taste hasn’t changed much.). You’ll also notice the kanji characters are full of puns that the gangs used to up their machismo game. YOROSHIKU in the obi above is written with the characters for “night”, “expose”, “death” and “suffer”. It is as garish and recognizable as Hell’s Angels tattoos and silver jewelry appropriated for fashion nowadays.
But unlike the cheapo yukata you’ll find in cardboard boxes at used stores in Harajuku, these are all handcrafted by true artisans…ones with a sense of humor, that is.
Tsukikageya (“dark side of the moon”) has created their newest collection of original prints for Summer 2012:
The question I am asked most often in interviews is “What does the `outside world` think of Japanese fashion?” When I answer, I really can only speak for the west and what little of Asia I’ve seen… but here’s a new one! It’s Singapore’s CATALOG magazine, and this month they’ve dedicated the entire issue to Japan/Tokyo. It’s a monthly fashion zine that has the coolest typography and design I’ve ever seen. This time, from the graphics to the fashion pages bits of Nipponisme runs throughout (see the looks below- they pegged Tokyo street style pretty well! And all using their own local brands.)
I was given six pages and had the great task of picking out some of the city’s best boutiques, a few restaurants and hotels. If you’re on top of things you will already know these shops…and perhaps visit them often. If you don’t know them, then focus for a few minutes and fold them into your grey matter!
Glorious Cafe (Shibuya Diesel) M Event Space and Bar (Daikanyama) (I even decided to hold my birthday party here this year. So “neighborhood-y”. Love it!) (ここにいると”近所”って感じがするからとても好き。ここで今年の誕生日パーティーをすることにしているし^^)
This top is by a Thai brand called Wonder Anatomie which I bought a necklace from a few years ago at the International Fashion Fair here in Tokyo. I didn’t know they moved on to clothing…I would sell a lung for this yellow blouse.
When you are trying out a new language, there are different stages to learning. I call it the discovery of “shameful naivete”. In my case, I started out learning conversational Japanese, and was pretty damned happy to just be able to say “My name is Misha” and “I love shrimp tempura”. At this stage I declared, “I will never use keigo [polite Japanese], NEVER! I don’t need it! It’s dumb!”. I probably sounded like a thug when speaking to teachers at school and should have been thrown in jail. So the first level is pitiful ignorance. This is the happiest time, so if you’re wafting about here, enjoy the bliss!
The second level is depression, when you hit your glass ceiling and realize you know NOTHING. Everyone may *say* “you’re so jouzu!” but you and I know that can’t be true 100% of the time. You start to study. And you learn a hell of a lot. You sound better. But you’re still talking like an 8-year old. And you get treated like one.
You realize studying alone isn’t going to do squat. At this point whatever you need you will learn in practice in the real world. Your skill grows up, it goes through puberty and overconfidence sometimes makes situations awkward (Remember, sarcasm is called “American Joke” in Japanese. Careful with it…Don’t sound like an @$$). But you learn control, and it matures to full-grown conversational prowess. Rowr.
And then, 10 years later, you realize you’ve been saying the kanji for “house” totally wrong this WHOLE time (ya? ga? ke?). Or you’ve been writing your %$&#”! *numbers* wrong (there’s a “Japanese” way to write the number 6) . Oi bei.
So what is my point? My point is, that I am still learning so much everyday. I am not an expert on Japanese language. What I *am* is an expert in Japanese fashion, and even here too, I am still learning crazy, seemingly basic stuff ALL the time. It’s both frustrating and exciting.
I discovered a new shop the other day, one that I really think is amazing. And just like language, I had thought I knew everything. But I realize I had just hit my own glass ceiling, and there is still SO much more out there.
This shop is called “Tsuki-kageya” and it is in Yoyogi-koen, one stop past Harajuku on the Chiyoda line. I stepped in with only 15 minutes to spare, because it is just a few minutes from my office and I heard they were having a special party. I had *heard* of this place before, but just never bothered to study up on it. Actually, I still don’t know a whole lot about it. Right now, I am in the ignorant blissful stage so I will just share my giddy naivete with everyone like a kitten taking a swipe at a crow.
(They’re well connected in the cool-kids scene. Nara Yuuya 2nd from right modeling new yukata)
I was taken aback immediately upon entering… all of those intriguing yukata!
Tenugui cloths with original Tsukikageya prints.
Python geta sandals.
Retro printed and iced out obis.
Punkish, defiant prints. This isn’t your obaachan’s (grandma’s) yukata.
Yep, it’s a print of old school Japanese porn.
A little get together for the party. On the right is Natsuki san, the manager. If you are a regular customer and she likes you, she may invite you to the after-hour bar time where you get to meet some interesting characters. So much better than a golden-gai bar!