There’s so much creativity embedded in and scattered throughout Japan’s capital city. It takes something special, then, to harness the intrinsic and disparate creativeness of an urban center the size of Tokyo and showcase it to the world. Anyone working in the fashion, art or general creative industries will know or recognize the name Chace Fedor. Founder and director of poweredby.tokyo and creative director at monopo agency, Fedor is at the forefront of Tokyo’s international identity.
A Tokyo resident for eight years, the Vancouver-native has always had a love affair with Japan. From street fashion to culture, he always dreamed of calling Tokyo home. He made the leap, networked across the city and, nearly a decade later, is respected as one of the major creative directors in the city — someone who connects, listens, supports, then reflects, artistically and innovatively, the soft power and creative energy of his adopted city to the world.
“I went to my interesting friends in Tokyo,” says Fedor. “I wanted to make sure it [poweredby.tokyo] was a solid mix of Japanese and foreigners to reflect the modern Tokyo. It’s trajectory, the way Tokyo is going. I wanted to capture and communicate Tokyo’s urban culture and lifestyle authentically and organically. It’s the creatives and the entrepreneurs of a city that define it. Nobody had taken that philosophy or vehicle in terms of the branding of a city.”
poweredby.tokyo started three years ago as a passion project highlighting Fedor’s sophisticated and intriguing network of friends and acquaintances, anyone doing anything interesting while pushing the city’s culture forward. This has, however, quickly expanded into something else; a visual, cultural and curated smorgasbord of creatives, both Japanese and foreign, and their lives, work and recommendations in the Japanese capital.
I wanted to capture and communicate Tokyo’s urban culture and lifestyle authentically and organically.
“I have plans to expand to other cities. There’s a huge international appetite for any kind of window into contemporary Japanese society, and I think we offer a view of the city’s creative cultural landscape through a unique lens,” says Fedor. “A bit more boots on the ground and hands to the fire. Peeling back the layers of the vibrant subcultures to reveal how fashion, music, film and art are informing the city. Identifying as a lifestyle brand first and foremost allows us the agility to navigate the market with ease and fluidity. You can sense a trend among brands wanting to connect more deeply with creative communities and the cities in which they operate. We offer a level of intimacy and sensitivity that brands so desire these days. We connect them with real people making real waves in the city, a dynamic that facilitates strong, compelling communication work.”
Driven and ambitious, he begins his day at 6am and strives to improve himself both physically and mentally by setting aside time for reading, exercise and general self-improvement ready to tackle the day, clear of mind, relaxed and proactive. A fan of cold plunges, a love discovered during a recent stay at Park Hyatt Seoul, he explains how it has led to a life changing routine.
“There’s been a lot written about ‘the flinch,’” says Fedor. “It’s an evolutionary tick in the human process. I think that doing something very uncomfortable, as early on in the day as possible, can set you up to be able to have the strength and confidence to attack anything else that comes at you throughout the day. Whether it’s an ice cold shower or going for a jog before sunrise, nothing is going to be worse than that. The whole day will be yours.”
Fedor’s concept for poweredby.tokyo has become fluid in nature — evolving and changing shape to mirror the evolution of the city and the people that drive it. No longer solely devoted to a collection of individuals, Fedor has incorporated into his business model collaborations and creative campaigns for brands such as Beams, Reebok, New Balance and A-list artists and talent such as Takashi Murakami and ROLA.
Fedor seems to be a man of pioneering spirit. Tokyo has too much to offer and so much going on, to the point that it seems like a superhuman task for a small team of two to catch the current cultural and social zeitgeist. Ultimately, Fedor encapsulates fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s comment, “Give me time and I’ll give you a revolution.” Like McQueen, Fedor’s revolution isn’t political; it’s creative and unlimited and he’s grown into a figure who isn’t afraid to cross the creative Rubicon and push for a new, vibrant and pulsating Tokyo — a city all-encompassing, diverse and ready to drive societal and creative changes for the future.