Tokyo’s youth may be celebrated worldwide for their inventive and expressive street fashion, but talented fashion students here are unlikely to get the recognition they deserve as a designer while still in school—until now. Shining a light on potentially promising graduates is Gakuten, a new event created by the Harajuku-based team behind the successful Design Festa art and craft fair. The inaugural Gakuten held last month at Tokyo Big Site comprised a “Fashion Avenue” of mannequins, student fashion shows and booths selling students’ surprisingly professional-looking wares.
The Harajuku Design Festa Gallery will be playing host to an ever-changing lineup of student trendsetters over the next year. Keep your finger on the fashion pulse of tomorrow by adding it to your rounds!
Despite being the most saturated fashion retail landscape on the planet, the actual shopping experience in Tokyo is rather repetitive, relying on a unique but ultimately fixed formula. Jolting the scene into life is Paryuco, a newly rebranded concept shop tucked away right in the heart of mainstream retail, Parco Part 1 in Shibuya.
Previously known by the subtly different moniker of Pyaruco, it originally parodied the shopping environment of the department store around it (hence the name) with an open layout and video games for customers to play, not to mention some of the edgiest fashion going from the likes of Chloma—a brand that takes its cues from Japanese anime figure designs. The new Paryuco is a complete overhaul, bringing a flurry of changes designed to overtake the trend-based system of fashion found elsewhere in the fast-fashion empires of Forever 21 and H&M. The shop’s stock will change on a daily basis—as will the staff. Even the layout, lighting and music are set to be different every time you visit.
Tokyo’s most publicity-shy designer, Keisuke Kanda has just enjoyed a fittingly low-key opening for his first-ever conventional shop a stone’s throw from his alma mater, Shinjuku’s Bunka Fashion College. Previously operating out of a converted snack bar in Koenji with erratic opening hours that deterred many shoppers, the new shop finally opens the world of Keisuke Kanda to a whole new generation of young Bunka students, whose only experience of the brand to date is most likely to be of the numerous fakes that litter the backstreets of Harajuku.
Those after the real deal can look forward to seeing the endearingly cute, hand-stitched and washed-out pastels the designer built his name on. It’s also a rare chance to glimpse the men’s collection—relaxed basics that have become an unofficial uniform for the west Tokyo creative industry. As ever with this brand, absolutely no photos are allowed inside the shop, so you’ll have to visit it for yourself.
In Tokyo, no lifestyle should cut you off from cutting-edge fashion. Recently, there’s been a spike in the number of “weekend fashionistas” throwing off the salaryman suit come Friday and replacing it with a foray into something altogether more experimental for the weekend, even if the escape is only temporary.
Our pictured part-time fashionista is an office worker by day, but has been known to pack a change of clothes to make a lighting-quick transformation when work is done.
Sep 1 | Rain Forest from Mihara Yasuhiro
Menswear heavyweight Mihara Yasuhiro launches the very first perfume in the brand’s history. The organic scent takes its inspiration from the Amazon rainforest, but also gives back—each ¥9,000 bottle includes a donation to the Present Tree preservation society. www.miharayasuhiro.jp
Sep 5 | Ground Y by Yohji Yamamoto
Tokyo fashion godfather Yohji Yamamoto eyes a younger clientele with Ground Y, a concept shop opening in Parco Part 1, Shibuya. Here you can find a number of Yamamoto’s accessibly priced lines including “by Y’s,” silver jewelry line “Gothic” and new basic lines with prices around ¥20,000. www.yohjiyamamoto.co.jp
Sep 6 | Vogue Fashion’s Night Out 2014
Vogue magazine’s annual excuse for shopping excess is with us for another year, offering in-store parties, free gifts and refreshments to fuel your shopping late into the night. www.vogue.co.jp/fno
Sep 6-23 | The Art of Undercover
Jun Takahashi’s label Undercover kick-started a new generation of street art in fashion back in the ’90s—and now those selfsame designs are set to appear in an art gallery. The retrospective takes in 24 years of street art and graphics sure to remind many a Tokyoite of a misspent youth. www.parco-art.com/sp/museum/
Sep 15 | Ninja Sneakers from Marc by Marc Jacobs
Taking its cues from a ninja in motion, Marc Jacobs delivers an eccentric sneaker with a cutting-edge wave sole that will quite literally put a spring in your step. Available in stealth-appropriate monotone and vivid multicolor, they’re available in-store and online for a heady ¥64,000. www.marcjacobs.jp