PingMag has once again come up with a great article on Japanese fashion. This time, they interview some of the photographers responsible for those ’street fashion’ shots from Harajuku and Shibuya. I’ve written about Shoichi Aoki earlier – the photographer behind FRUiTS magazine, amongst others, but he is far from being the only man witha camera in Harajuku.
One thing that this article really highlighted for me is the breadth of magazines in Japan. In this article alone, there were magazines mentioned that were aimed at 20 year old men, young couples and women who ride bicycles.
PingMag: Interviewing Omotesando Street Fashion Crews
Ok, here is one for the foot fetishists among you. Yes, these are my feet you’re going to look at. Consider yourselves warned.
You may have heard of tabi – the shoes and socks that seperate the big toe from the rest of the toes. Some Japanese construction workers wear them as part of their outfit and many people, when dressed up in kimono, yukata or hakama will wear tabi socks with geta sandals.
I went a bit nuts in a souvenir shop in Kamakura. They were selling geta sandals (none of which fit, giant gaijin that I am) and colourfully patterned tabi socks, which were some cheap price like 5 for 2000 yen, I can’t remember. So, I bought 5 pairs of tabi socks and here they are:
(see them at my Flickr account
These are obviously just touristy souvenir tabi, but the patterns were so cute that I couldn’t resist. My favourite is probably the green ones with ducks.
If they look a bit uncomfortable in the photos, then you’d be right. They sold them up to 25cm in size, and I guess I’m 25.5cm, so they’re a bit tight to begin with but loosen as you wear them. I don’t think that these ones were terribly well designed as they can be quite vicious at pulling apart the big toe from the others, then scrunching the little toes together. Some of the socks also have strange ideas about just how long toes usually are.
They’re made from a polyester and cotton blend too, so it feels a bit plasticky against your skin.
But still! They’re very kawaii and were cheap and I can wear them with my geta sandals and tabi shoes.
Geta? Tabi shoes? Chidade, you have geta? Show them to us!
Ahh. Well! One day. One day.
A few Sundays ago I spent the day in Harajuku. It was a great day, the weather was great and there were plenty of people around. As usual, the kids on Omotesando were dressed in their finest, although there were fewer than usual because the right side of the bridge (facing Meiji Shrine) seems to be getting re-paved, so it was all fenced off.
Netherless, I got plenty of photos – here are some of them. You can click on them to see the rest at my Flickr account.
This gaijin punk received a lot of attention from the usual locals.
It’s Decorer Stitch! Rawr!
A GothLoli Dress for sale at Body Line in Takeshita Street.
My favourite photo from the day. I don’t know why.
On a Sunday stroll through Harajuku…
That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed them!
There are many shops along Takeshita Street in Harajuku that offers pre-assembled outfits to fit in with the cool kids on Omotesando. They can be relatively cheap. Most of the are in the Lolita/Gothic Lolita vein but there are a few punk style clothes too.
It’s somehow disappointing. I got into Harajuku fashion because of what those kids could concoct themselves, not because of what they could buy from a shop.
I made a trip to Harajuku on Saturday to show some tourist friends around, hoping we’d catch some of the kids in crazy fashions that you’d normally see in droves on Sundays. While they weren’t there in high numbers, they were still quite a few. Mind you, even without them, there’s still plenty to see in Harajuku.
Shoichi Aoki is one very cool 55 year old. I wrote about his magazine FRUiTS yesterday, but he has two other magazines that he publishes monthly.
STREET magazine again follows street fashion, but from the major cities around the world. It was started by Aoki in 1985 in London, and is still going strong today. It’s fair to say that STREET magazine helped introduce street fashion to the Japanese youth.
The cities he visits each issue are printed on the cover, and it is available by subscription (or you can order back issues) from the website.
TUNE magazine is a mere 10 issues old. It is based once more in Japan and can almost be seen as a male version of FRUiTS (which isn’t entirely true since plenty of males appear in FRUiTS). The photos aren’t necessarily limited to Harajuku either, the spiritual home of FRUiTS. Nevertheless, if you like your street fashions to be a bit grittier and masculine, TUNE is for you.
Back issues and subscriptions are available again from his website: http://www.street-mg.com
While thse two magazines aren’t as famous as FRUiTS, they are very interesting to read to see where Aoki has come from (STREET) and where he’s going (TUNE).
FRUiTS is a monthly magazine published by photographer Shoichi Aoki in Japan. It started in 1997 after Aoki noticed a new trend in fashion among young people in Harajuku. Instead of a fashion trend that was dictated by designers, this was a trend started by the young people themselves.
Young people would mix traditional Japanese clothing such as kimonos or geta sandals, with Western or local Japanese designs, even with punk clothing. These people were not brand obsessed like most Japanese people are known to be. They developed a “Harajuku Free Style” fashion trend which Aoki wanted to document in FRUiTS.
Since the trend began in the mid-nineties, the street style has expanded to cover many sub-genres, like punk, Decorer, Gothic Lolita or just kawaii.
The trend has died down in recent years – probably due to the fact that Omotesando (the main street in Harajuku) isn’t closed to cars on Sundays anymore, so the FRUiTS kids no longer have anywhere to hang out. Aoki still manages to publish a magazine each month though, especially since the magazine has achieved cult status in both Japan and overseas.
FRUiTS is a great look into the minds and fashions of Harajuku youth and is available by subscription, or in two volumes of books from Phaidon Press.
The official website
Buy the first FRUiTS book from Amazon and support 3yen.com!
Buy the second FRUiTS book from Amazon and support 3yen.com!
If you still think sandals are for german tourists, you might be surprised when you see the huge amount of young Japanese wearing Birkenstock
(and various imitations) this Summer. Sandals are omnipresent in Japanese traditional culture, wooden ones (geta
), rice hay/tatami-style ones (zori
), Japanese people, rich and poor, young and old, have been wearing them since no one knows when. Birkenstock has been around since 1774, and it is quite natural it was discovered by some Japanese hipster at some stage and stayed in fashion from then on. Last Summer, Birkenstock suddenly had a trend burst throughout the world, European girls were all over the glossy colorful sandals, and it reflected on Japan of course, making the German sandal the must have item for this Summer.
Overall, it would be easy to think Birkenstock is somehow Japanese, and quite naturally, they are surfing the Japanese wave and putting aside their German-tourist image. Even the US homepage is playing the Asian/Japan card, with the little umbrellas and the soft colors. And one series is even called “Tatami“, and looks remotely Japanese…
Anyway, Birkenstock Japan’s marketing team have done their homework and opened a new shop in Shinjuku East — the original one being in Harajuku, at the bottom of the ultra-hip Takeshita Dori. I had a look at the models displayed and more than half of them had a “Japan Limited” mention on the tag, which proves that Birkenstock is now embracing Japan as one big beautiful market, with limited editions etc. So remember: if you want to be Japanese-cool this Summer, wear German import. (Scroll down for the pictures)
The “109″ is Tokyo girls’ fashion Mecca. It is a department store filled with all kinds of clothing shops pushing their boomboxes to 11 and displaying as many colors and shapes as possible to attract the zillions of young girls who just came to burn their cash on boots, g-strings, cute shiny purses shaped like shoes etc. Most of it looks like a sequel to the Paris Hilton episode of South Park, but suddenly something stands out and you’re rewarded you made it so far.
Apart from having the cutest salesgirls in the whole building, Barak has the ultimate jeans for the girl who wants to go lower than the usual low waist jeans. In fact, they’re so low, you couldn’t even wear them. And not only they are LOW, but you gotta wear them OPENED… So they created an illusion with those denim to protect your morale and reputation. According to Virginie, these should be picked up by Diesel and become a big success in the West very soon. So I guess we should make sure you read it hear first…
These jeans are tight, and they have your usual wear-and-tear holes here and there. So far, no suprises. What’s new are the shorts attached-in, coming out from the top, which are what you actually “wear” while the rest is trompe-l’oeil. And it works!
A big belt, a short top, and you’re sluttier than ever even though you’re not revealing anything more than with normal low-rise jeans. Somewhere, somehow, there is an Italian designer working on these right now. Maybe it is time you get back to your fat-free yoghurt diet before summer.