If we were to define Japanese streetwear style it would be a fusion of modern and traditional. It is not uncommon to see classic pieces adorned with wild patterns and controversial slogans.
Located between Harajuku and Aoyama was Urahara which housed the true beginnings of Japanese street fashion. Amongst the many boutiques were unknown brands like A Store Robot and Vintage King.
When Muji (Ryohin Keikaku in Japanese) was launched in 1980, it was an antithesis to the brand conscious culture of its time. Its generic, unbranded products were a statement that function and value mattered more than inflated price tags and status symbols. Three processes anchor Muji’s product development: choice of materials, thorough inspection and simplification of packaging.
Today, MUJI has stores around the world including Fifth Avenue in New York and London’s Oxford Street. However, a global expansion is challenging due to high shipping, labour and rental costs. To overcome this, the company uses innovation and extensive market research to design better products that meet local needs.
The brand also supports its suppliers and is committed to promoting sustainable production. Among other things, the company promotes organic cotton, which is safer for farmers and workers than conventionally grown cotton. In addition, MUJI has also established a system called “Prosper with Suppliers” to provide financial support for its small-scale producers.
The Japanese fashion trend angura is dark, mysterious and somewhat erotic. It’s a substyle of Visual Kei that focuses on traditional Japanese elements such as kimonos and school uniforms. It also incorporates shironuri makeup and other mystical looks. It also has a few sub-styles, like hime lolita, casual lolita and gothic lolita.
Another popular style is shikura, which is inspired by the look of Japanese metal bands. This trend includes flamboyant costumes, smoky makeup, dyed hair, and complex, intricate haircuts. You can find shikura styles at WEGO and other Japanese boutiques.
Another great Japanese brand is A Bathing Ape, founded by Nigo in Harajuku. The brand is now massive worldwide and has inspired many different styles of clothing. It’s a great place to find oversized hoodies, fishnets and sneakers. You can even personalize your clothes by adding drawings, lyrics and other symbols on them. This is a cool way to show off your personality and create a unique look.
Japan is a country famous for forward-thinking design, whether you’re shopping at a twenty-story Tokyo department store or admiring the diversity of the sandwich selection at your neighborhood konbini. But it’s also home to streetwear brands that are changing the way we think about fashion.
Founded in 1994, NEIGHBORHOOD is an influential contemporary brand that’s often mentioned in the same breath as WTAPS and UNDERCOVER. Their designs reflect influences from grunge and punk culture, including elongated hemlines and unfinished seams. Takizawa is often influenced by British culture and music as well, and many of their collections are based on a sense of rebellion.
If you’re a fan of Japanese streetwear, it’s worth visiting Harajuku and Shibuya to see the style for yourself. A stroll around the streets will leave you inspired and ready to take on your next outfit. The best part is, it’s not hard to find affordable clothing from Japan!
Founded by two retired J-League footballers Keiji Ishizuka and Atsuhiko Mori, Wacko Maria takes inspiration from music, film and art with their design aesthetic sitting somewhere between rockabilly and streetwear. Playful and kitschy, their embroidered slogans like ‘Guilty Parties’ have captured the attention of a young audience. New to The Hip Store for SS18, their hoodies and t-shirts feature the PLAY heart logo that has been seen on the backs of rappers and celebrities.
Few brands capture the essence of an antihero like Wacko Maria. Their laid-back, current and effortless style speaks to the swagger of the bad boy, which is reinforced by their use of ambassadors such as Ryuhei Matsuda.