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I went shooting again in Tokyo’s Harajuku. The rain limited the opportunities somewhat, but I still found some cool people.
Comme des Garçons is marking its 40th anniversary by bringing out a guerrilla-style, temporary brand called “Black” that epitomizes the style, the inventiveness and the originality of its founder.
Rei Kawakubo created black as the color of fashion’s rebel yell. She might have pronounced later, in her enigmatic way, that “red is the new black” and made that vivid color — checkered or regal — part of her repertoire.
But the Japanese designer did not just put women in black like a flock of crows flying across the brash 1980s. More significantly she, in the words of the innovative fashion retailer Carla Sozzani, “interpreted a change of mind in women and opened up a whole vision of femininity.”
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The Tokyo 135˚ shop is hidden away on the second floor in a small building on a back street of Harajuku, Tokyo’s energetic youth culture district. If you don’t know it is there, you’ll most probably never find it. You’d miss out on Harajuku’s best modern kimono shop.
Thanks to his book FRUITS (more than 100,000 copies sold worldwide), Shoichi Aoki’s street magazine Fruits is now better known abroad than in Japan itself. The magazine with an almost cult-like following in Japan has been documenting Tokyo street fashion since 1996. I had an exclusive interview with Aoki.
The 1995 earthquake that devastated Kobe and environs destroyed something inside fashion designer Takuya Sawada (1967) as well. “It was an incredible shock. Western-style buildings and even highways came tumbling down. I thought ‘wow, concrete is really brittle’,” says Takuya Sawada. “Everything I believed in was demolished. It shattered something inside me too.” Just as he describes the pain he felt at the time, RINGO Shina’s ‘Odaijini’ (‘Get well soon’) plays in the background. We both laugh at the coincidence.