Japan Today

Tokyo fashion: A never-ending magnet for creativity

By Lee Jay Walker

Milan, Paris, London, New York and other major fashion cities in the world have their own unique styles. However, in Tokyo, you have so much variety and when you mix this with the rich environment, huge population and ongoing creativity, then it becomes abundantly clear that Tokyo is one of the most striking fashion cities in the world.

In truth, it is very difficult to judge which city is the "best" fashion place in the world because you have so many variables and language issues. Therefore, research may be tainted by geographic and linguistic factors and fashion also depends on individual tastes, influences of culture and other important issues.

However, without a shadow of a doubt, Tokyo is among the crème de la crème. Having visited or resided in other major cities -- for example London, Paris, and a host of other famous cities -- at no time have I witnessed such a vibrant fashion scene as what exists in Tokyo.

Harajuku, Omotesando, Ginza, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Roppongi Hills and Aoyama are more internationally famous and these districts hog the main headlines. But the uniqueness of Tokyo fashion is that in some of the less well known spots like Kichijoji, Jiyugaoka, Nakano, Naka-Meguro, Daikanyama and Shimokitazawa, the fashion scene reflects the style of each area and this is the beauty of Tokyo.

Also, Ebisu, Ikebukuro and Ueno have their supporters and the west side of Ikebukuro is awash with fashion, while the east side is always buzzing. The Lumine shopping complex, for example, is host to many innovative fashion brands.

Aoyama and Omotesando are avant-garde, sophisticated, haute couture and chic places to visit because you have endless exquisite boutiques. The architecture is also part of the image and in these posh districts are the crème de la crème of fashion companies.

In Aoyama, there are stylish and chic fashion companies such as Comme des Garcons, Prada, 10 Corso Como, L’eclaireur, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Artisan, Loveless, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Bathing Ape, Tsumori Chisato, Diane Von Furstenberg, Undercover, Design Works, Frapbois, and many others like Deuxieme Classe. More diversity can be found in the back streets of Omotesando where you have more independent boutiques and where street style fashion flourishes.

Omotesando is only one station away from Harajuku -- known worldwide for its kawaii culture, cosplay and more casual street fashion. The chic of Omotesando's avant-garde and haute couture overlaps with the natural buzz of Harajuku.

I really love the style and layout of Tracy Reese who has lovely styles and color schemes, and I also like SmackyGlam in Lumine in Ikebukuro, and other parts of Tokyo; both these two distinctive companies blend fashion with extreme care about image and the quality is exquisite.

In Harajuku, Sebastian Masuda, who is the founder of 6%DOKIDOKI, is part of the vibrancy of the Tokyo fashion because his creativity and fashion styles have impacted on the “real underbelly of Harajuku.”

Kawaii culture in Tokyo goes back several decades but this unique style which belongs to Japan continues to develop and modify, and 6%DOKIDOKI is part and parcel of kawaii culture. However, Masuda does not pertain to any single style because he is a creator.

In Shibuya you have a hub of fashion within Shibuya 109 and the vibes of Center Gai and Koen Dori are alive with fashion conscious people. Shibuya is synonymous with high octane fashion and the famous crossing is mega-busy.

Smackyglam is based in Shibuya and you have countless boutiques which include the innovative Candy. Marui, Parco and other leading stores are in Shibuya.

In Shinjuku and Nishi Shinjuku you have major department stores such as Isetan, Keio, Lumine, Marui, Mitsukoshi ALCOTT, Odakyu, Takashimaya and Mylord. Each department store provides quality of the highest and if you are a fashion guru, then you need time to check the ample fashion on show.

The international reputation of Tokyo in the fashion field will continue to grow and be unqiue as long as there are countless areas to visit.

© Modern Tokyo Times

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I lived in London for a long time and have visited Tokyo on countless occasions. Tokyo has no real creativity at all. Fashion in Tokyo has just been imported or re-labelled. It will of course continue to grow because it is at the very bottom (department store level) so they only thing below it is charity shops. Some of which in the Kings Road, London would surpass the boutiques of Ikebukuro.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Unique culture, blah blah blah, Kawaii culture, yeah really? Do you Know where that image and idea started? Try looking at late 70's to late 80's fashions and bands. You will see some like Strawberry Switchblade. The maid/lolita styles also orginated from these times influenced by Western fashions and music of the times, Virgin Prunes attire is another influence. In fact very little of Japanese fashion is original teh same as teh rest of the world. Every nation has ideas and fashions that re unique. This must be written by a young Japanophile who knows less about this matter than an aging Englishman like myself who never goes to Tokyo.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

i think Japanese kawaii fashion is the ultimate expression of Kitsch.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

i agree with bs & steve. looks like something from an anime. whos gonna wear this stuff all the time? exept at anime coventions.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Disagree with you all. Japan is incredibly stylish, wonderfully creative. and has a fashion scene deeply influenced by a Japanese sense of aesthetic. It is at times playful and irreverent, at times classy and super stylish. Long may it flourish!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Wow really talking out of your hats here, There's much more creativity and style in Japan than you see expressed in the street fashion. And regardless of the inspiration it is done with their own flair. Of course there's nothing new under the sun, art is nothing if not theft! It's really about the youth, the culture is vibrant and alive in most of the major cities across the globe, but don't sit there as old men and condemn the Japanese, because you don"t get it. that's why they do it in the first place. jokes on you!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanophiles; Their is little creative in japanese fashion and it ahs far less influneces on the world due to its limited appeal and childishness. Dressing in a maids outfit or like a Victorian with lots of ribbons in your hair is for pree teen girls not adults. I get it, but many of you don't because you can't see how blatantly is has mostly all been stolen and that makes it look stale.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

What slander - it sounds like you're all rather opinionated and willingly ignorant to the views of others. Listen, it fashion is fashion - it's style - one's own expression of what makes them who they are. Yeah, you cut and past stuff from different places, but in the end it's your style and that's that; whether that style has traces of others' or not is completely irrelevant.

The first thing I'd say about Tokyo's fashion is that it's colourful and abundant. Saying anything more border-lining slander is just plain distasteful.

0 ( +3 / -2 )

if they design wedding dresses to make the brides looking like hookers, that really tell a lot about their fashion " sense ".................

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Japanese in general, have the worst fashion sense in the world.

You lose count of the times every day that you see someone dressed in clothes that just look stupid. It's not about any question of style or anything, they just look stupid.

Any place, anywhere in the world, where gothloli fashion is worn outside of the house on such a scale, without derision and mocking, has fashion problems.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Every nation has ideas and fashions that re unique.

Yes, and this includes Japan. There's tons of creative fashion - not to my taste, but it's still creative.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dressing in a maids outfit or like a Victorian with lots of ribbons in your hair is for pree teen girls not adults.

Go tell that to a maid. I'm sure she would disagree.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tokyo is awesome! Soo much more fashionable than Kansai where I live, unfortunately.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese are very stylish, that's for sure, but avant-garde? The writer makes it sound as if you see cutting edge fashion on every corner. Omotesando? Aoyama? Off the peg stylish, that's all. And you don't have to come to Tokyo for Stella McCartney, Comme des Garcons or Prada. The cutting edge must be just too subtle for me. Not saying there's zero creativity or individuality, but the Japanese tend to just copy their look directly from the pages of their fashion magazines, without innovation. As for the Lolita look, Steve's right. Google Strawberry Switchblade and you'll see it already happened in the early 1980s.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Corporal Steve: Seems like some one else is writing for you these days. The spelling and grammar are impeccable and the thoughts are so deep...... Japanese fashion is more than maid outfits. You must quit going to the Otaku Cafes. Japanese fashion is wild, and I am a part of it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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