Harajuku as an indie shopping haven
Tokyo has long been regarded as one of the “it” places when it comes to shopping. While Japan does carry a distinctively homogeneous sense of fashion, they remain receptive to global trends. Harajuku in particular stands as a melting pot of fashion styles, with a particular advocacy for streetwear.
Labels like Fragment Design, Bape, Neighbourhood and Undercover can all trace their roots back to Harajuku during the late 80s. Their scrappy legacy carries on till today, represented by other streetwear independent boutiques that offer both casual and runway-ready articles.
If you’re fixing to go shopping in Tokyo, Japan, you’ll be happy to know that you won’t have to relegate yourself strictly to outlet malls and multi-levelled departmental stores. Quantity will not always give you the same amount of satisfaction as quality does. For those rare and hard-to-find pieces, it pays to go the indie route. Here are 5 independent retailers that are definitely worth checking out.
Founded by Kubo Mitsuhiro, Gr8’s presence within the luxury streetwear scene is indisputable. Offering brands like Balenciaga, Readymade, Martine Rose, A-Cold-Wall, there’s no way you can talk about fashion in Tokyo without mentioning Gr8. Having recently located to a sprawling retail space within the Laforet Harajuku mall, it simple is a must-visit if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.
If you blink, there’s a very good chance that you might miss goffa’s storefront. Instead of your usual edgy streetwear storefront, goffa takes the form of a renovated residential building. The result is a more intimate selection of inventory that allows the store to maximise the value of the space. Goffa is also known for its preference for emerging labels over industry heavyweights. If you’re lucky, you might even chance upon some vintage rarities while you’re there!
For those who appreciate Japanese labels, Fan would come across as a veritable paradise. Mari Ito and Hajime Sakamoto bring their decades of experience within the fashion boutique scene to bear with this venture, and Fan stocks more Japanese brands than any other store on this list. Their offerings run the gamut of high and low styling – you’ll find labels like Almostblack and Acronym mixed with others like Son Of The Cheese and Kudos.
At first glance, Domicile Tokyo looks like the personal gallery of an eccentric designer. This is in fact true after a sense, as the storefront was designed by graphic artist Yoshirotten. Domicile Tokyo is the only retailer aside from Nepenthes to carry A$AP Rocky’s AWGE x Needles collection. They also carry other international labels that are exclusive to them, such as LQQK Studio, CNY, Iggy and Joe Garvey.
Skate culture and streetwear go seamlessly together; it wasn’t that long ago when skaters were calling Jordan 1s their kicks of choice. Store manager Seiji Matsu has been an ardent consumer of skate culture since his teenage years, and it certainly shows with Prov. You’ll find brands like Alltimers, Polar Skate Co, Quartersnacks and Bronze 56k making up their core collection. Cult favourites like GX1000 and Sci-Fi Fantasy also make an appearance here to give that authentic skateboarder experience.