Festival and fireworks season is upon us, bringing with it the rare opportunity to wear the humidity-friendly yukata (light summer kimono). As befitting any fashion staple, there are a wealth of interpretations by big labels and edgy outsiders alike. Serious fashion aficionados can look to the likes of Mint Designs and Anrealage for limited collections currently on sale at Isetan Shinjuku. More eclectic tastes should look at the psychedelic yukata stylings of Iroca (www.iroca.jp). If budget’s an issue, a complete set can be had for around ¥10,000, like Buffalo Bobs’ (www.buffalobobs.co.jp) line featuring modern textiles such as houndstooth and even Velcro fastening on the obi (belt) to make dressing unassisted a breeze.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a sneaker collaboration worth getting excited about, but the recently announced Converse and surrealist artist Taro Okamoto collaboration model fits the bill nicely.
The centerpiece of the collaboration is a design based on Okamoto’s most famous work, the Tower of the Sun sculpture that became the symbol of the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka—replicating it right down to some pretty big wings that jut out from the back of the shoe (mercifully detachable). The core All Star Okamoto Taro TT Shin-hi comes in at ¥10,000 and is accompanied by a number of cheaper designs focusing on graffiti interpretations of Okamoto’s motifs. The collaboration is set to drop in August, but be warned, the last time Okamoto’s estate conspired with a fashion label (in that case Comme des Garcons) the most popular designs were long gone before the first day was out. www.converse.co.jp
The Kitakore building (3-4-13 Koenji-kita, Suginami-ku) in alternative fashion friendly Koenji has become the destination of choice for avant garde fashion fans the world over—dressing the likes of Rihanna and Lady Gaga—as well as those who wish to follow in their footsteps. The building houses a collective of designers and shops encompassing Garter, ilil, Hayatochiri, Dog and Southpaw, that live up to its client list. That doesn’t mean fashion civilians need be put off. For every outfit that Liberace would deem a bit over the top, there are some easy to wear basics, graphic tees and embroidered snapbacks that also carry the possibility of kickstarting a personal fashion revolution.
Recently, the collective opened a space dedicated to Chim↑Pom, who have combined their controversial artistic endeavors with fashion that needs to be seen to be believed—including garments fashioned from garbage and even Chim↑Pom member Ellie’s own tears.
For many, the Japanese school uniform is a symbol of conformity that’s eventually cast off only to be replaced by the salaryman or office lady suit. However, on closer inspection it really is the gateway to subversion: the yankii gangs embroidered theirs, and the kogal defined a generation with their audacity to adapt theirs. This path is still very much alive, as you can see from this example in which the sailor collar and pigtails are engulfed by an amorphous, mutated sweater from underground Tokyo designer Balmung.
Jul 30-Aug 10 | Tatty Devine pop-up shop at LaForet Harajuku
London-based, pop-cute accessory brand Tatty Devine is set for a limited shop from the 30th in LaForet, the capital of Harajuku fashion, with the English designer Harriet Vine in attendance at the opening. www.laforet.ne.jp/en