I know, I know. We should first talk about the elephant in the room.
…I`m wearing floral.
Alright, so having my real hair set free comes with a new set of challenges. I may be able to use less shampoo and have a less itchy scalp with this haircut, but this kind of hair comes with a mind of its own. That is especially true when it comes to picking out what kind of clothes to wear. A boyish cut is far more picky about what it likes to look good with, more than any other hairstyle I`ve ever had.
I am currently in Italy…Florence to be exact, but before talking of Italian sunsets, let’s travel to the UK for a minute….
The yen is high, travel is down, and Japan is not the only game changer in Asia anymore…what is a consumer-oriented city like Tokyo to do?
This post is for all of the Tokyo friends local and abroad who know what really makes this city tick, and why it ALWAYS pulls you back; the SHOPPING! You seriously cannot leave without a bag full of stuff. And no matter what you buy…whether it be a 100 yen cat-ear headband or a used leather jacket with Engrish written in neon markers “Fuk the Duk”, proclaiming “I got this in Tokyo” is always a bragging right (brag to the hills, my friends…Tokyoites have no qualms).
So when the UKs premier newspaper The Guardian asked me to list my top favorite fun Tokyo shops, I was extremely obliged. I think that in any other city, a writer would get so very b-o-r-e-d writing as many “best shops” lists as I do (so…many…..+_+) but I find that no matter what, there are always new shops I get to switch in to my lists every time… the landscape here changes constantly! I want to thank Susie of Style Bubble for recommending me for the article, and she is the perfect postergirl for the above adage; she had to apologize to her readers for the barrage of posts on clothes she had bought in Tokyo on her first trip here last year.
It is a list for travelers who are thinking of coming to Tokyo and I hope I have captured the spirit of the city. It is so very important to get as many travelers into the country as possible! I have to apologize to my foreign friends that the yen is so high now T_T…please try to make it if you can, anyway. (On the flip side they say “But you can travel because it’s so cheap for you!! But that’s only if your commission fees haven’t been cut in half since the economy crashed…so not much traveling gets done anyway…it’s a vicious cycle!).
Back for the December issue of Numero TOKYO I was in a segment that saw the Numero crew following me to my favorite Tokyo shops and observing my shopping prowess….the whole thing has now been made available online at Yahoo’s X-brand website!
The most pleasantly surprising thing about this online version is the introduction added to it…proclaiming me a “Tokyo ‘it’-girl”!!
But, but, but, “it” girls get agents, product deals entourages! No agent here, and my entourage is a closet full of clothes (That I bought. Not like they don’t enjoy my company…probably). Just call me enterprising ….under the radar (seriously). *self- efface, self-efface, self-efface*
The six stores I visited were Xanadu, Kika Style, Too Much, DOG Harajuku, Alcatrock and Harcoza. If you don’t know them, then please do click through and check out the photos and their websites (under the store title at the top of the page). See the feature here.
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.
Even with updating everyday, I am currently racking up quite the back log of reports/entries that I want to put up. And as for Balmung, I had hoped on getting this out….ohhh hopefully sometime this summer….
But last Monday when I finally stepped into to XANADU, a shop in Harajuku that only stocks sleek Japanese brands, I came across a Balmung skirt that had a recessed origami-like pinwheel shape in nude, white and silver materials. It reminded me of how cool this brand is, and just how “NOW” it is. So I`m going to follow suit and be NOW, too.
Designed by the young “Hachi”, Balmung is of course, also quite a young brand; often showing with geurilla comrades like Junya Suzuki(now Chloma) and Bodysong. Balmung is well known among the CANDY streetwear crowd, but seeing it at XANADU I came to see just how versatile and chic a selection of his pieces can be when styles right. Truly, the barrier that separates “street” and “highbrow” in Tokyo is as porous as ever.