Tokyo Shopping: 5 Local Designers Share Their Favorite Shops & Style Inspiration

In April, we kicked off our “Local Style Profiles” series in TW magazine. Each month, we interview a Tokyo-based designer or trendsetter to find out what inspires their style, how they define Tokyo fashion, and where they love to shop in the city. Below are five fashion designers we’ve profiled so far, followed by our very first “How to Wear It” video, which aims to help you take Japanese style from runway to reality (scroll down to watch).

Kev Mullin

Founder and designer of Strangers
www.thestrangers.jp
@strangerstokyo

MY CLOTHING BRAND, STRANGERS, IS … formed from a confluence of the UK’s cultural influences, Japan’s craftsmanship, 80s and 90s skateboarding, 60s album covers, and the love (and death) of counter culture.

TOKYO FASHION IS … ever-changing, colorful and never boring. I love that people choose to be flamboyant, without fear of being ridiculed. It’s like London in the 90s. I would say the Americana thing has been going on a bit too long, but there is a changing of the guard feeling in the air right now.

MY THREE FAVORITE SHOPS IN TOKYO ARE … 

Noah: Their “clubhouse” approach is refreshing. A throwback to the 90s skate shop vibe where you can spend time hanging out. They follow Strangers’ core beliefs, that ethical, quality workmanship is the only answer consumers should be looking at in a time when image is mostly more important than quality. 4-26-29 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

Vendor: Really nice space, interesting brands, and in the heart of my neighborhood, Nakameguro. Sourcing is something of pride here, they hunt down lesser-known labels and give them a platform. vendor.co.jp

Whistler: One of the best vintage stores on the planet, especially for 40s to 60s vintage army and American workwear. 4-30-8 Koenjiminami, Suginami-ku

Clothing by Strangers. Photo by Chris Mollison

Ryosuke Suésada

Founder and designer of Suésada
www.suesada.com
@suesada_

MY CLOTHING BRAND, SUÉSADA, IS … a conceptual women’s brand that is sexy and elegant, cynical and smart. My themes and motifs are inspired by overt and unexpected symbols of sexuality, for example lingerie, nipples, leg hair. I love women who play and provoke elegantly with their sexuality and intelligence.

TOKYO FASHION IS … a counter to the conservative. I think the base of Tokyo fashion is avant-garde, especially after the rise of Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. It’s free and has no rules, but it doesn’t have a long history because of the traditional scene. But now, along with the increase in popularity of geek culture (manga, idols and so on), I think it’s becoming more cutting edge.

MY THREE FAVORITE SHOPS IN TOKYO ARE … Isetan Shinjuku (isetan.co.jp), Dover Street Market Ginza (ginza.doverstreetmarket.com), and any of the vintage shops in Koenji (sorry, there are too many to pick just one!).

Clothing by Suésada

Takashi Mori

Founder and designer of Gaufrait
gaufrait.com
@gaufrait

MY CLOTHING BRAND, GAUFRAIT, IS … A Japanese comfy-wear label launched in 2016, based on three concepts: gender-free, season-free and stress-free. The beautiful graphic relief 3D pattern is created through an industrial process similar to that used for cooking waffles (“gaufres” in French). The 3D pattern minimizes skin contact and provides maximum comfort. Enjoy your own Gaufrait by choosing from a wide range of colors, graphics and size combinations.

TOKYO FASHION IS … Part of Japan’s Galápagos syndrome, for better or worse. Its craftsmanship is unbound by rules, giving birth to a whole new fusion of senses. It’s also consumed at an alarmingly fast rate. When we look at cities around the world, what stands out are androgynous fashion designs not directly tied to gender.

MY THREE FAVORITE SHOPS IN TOKYO ARE …

Eliminator: A men’s boutique with a large selection of sharp, formal attire that doesn’t let itself be influenced by temporary trends. The narrow, simple shop also has this kind of inorganic cool about it that goes so well with its select inventory. The only thing warm about the store is the staff’s attitude. www.eliminator.co.jp

Styles: Athleisure is the key concept behind this shop. They carry most major brands but they also have some interesting select items that will surely catch your eye. But it’s not just clothes. They also organize lively pop-up events focusing on music, art, and so on. www.styles-tokyo.jp

Descente Blanc: This shop was started by the Descente sportswear company. By using special techniques, like the ones you’d find in sports clothing, they’ve come up with trimmed, minimalist designs that are truly unique. It’s also cool how they display their inventory as if in the backroom of a cold, empty warehouse. www.descenteblanc.com

Clothing by Gaufrait

Sophia Watanabe

Creative director and owner of accessories brand Sophia 203
@sophia203

MY ACCESSORIES BRAND, SOPHIA 203, IS… A place where two worlds meet. Traditional and modern; East and West. My contemporary designs are executed by skilled artisans in my studio in Jaipur using very old techniques of embroidery which I have been developing and playing with ever since discovering them.

TOKYO FASHION IS… Nothing less than amazing! Colorful, gutsy and inspiring! I love the endless inspiration you find on the streets here.

MY THREE FAVORITE SHOPS IN TOKYO ARE… 

Daiso (and all the 100 Yen shops): I just love browsing these tiny shops with their incredible stock of oh, well, everything! I’m a big fan of making themed dinner parties for me and the kids, so that’s where I get all my inspiration from.

Rosy Baroque: It feels like you’ve been transported into a fabulous 1930s actress’s closet. Feathers, embroidery and the most delicate lace dresses. It’s a pure pleasure to browse this little gem. www.instagram.com/rosy_baroque

Shiseido Parlour: I looove the packaging and the display; I find it all very inspiring. parlour.shiseido.co.jp

Accessories by Sophia 203

Keisuke Nagami

Founder and designer of Hatra
www.hatroid.com
@hatroid

MY CLOTHING BRAND IS… a men’s and women’s wear brand established in Tokyo in 2010. The concept is “room,” because I regard clothing as the smallest room in which a person moves around. With this in mind, I am seeking a new relationship between the body and clothing.

TOKYO FASHION IS… a unique space in which the city’s wide variety of styles co-exist without threatening each other.

MY 3 FAVORITE SHOPS IN TOKYO ARE… 

GR8: Located inside Laforet Harajuku, this is a unique shop that symbolizes Tokyo. It was renewed in April, showing off a view of the world as a kaleidoscope of culture. gr8.jp

WARE MO KOU: A men’s shop found between Shibuya and Harajuku. The interior is almost like a museum, featuring collectors’ items selected from brands around the world, with attention paid to the fabrics, production background and designers’ intentions. waremo-kou.jp

HOUSE @ MIKIRI HASSIN: Inside a renovated house on the backstreets of Omotesando, this select shop sells my brand, Hatra, and other high-concept ranges. Its curation is strong and it has formed a unique community in the world of fashion. house.mikirihassin.co.jp

Clothing by Hatra. Photo by Photo by Gael Delhaye

Watch Our “How To Wear” Video

It’s not always easy translating designer fashion into an everyday wardrobe (especially when dealing with challenges like styles made for tiny figures). To help us take Keisuke Nagami’s designs for Hatra (above) from runway to reality, we asked stylist Xiaoyi Sapeta to select several pieces from the range and show us how to wear them.

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