Japanese subculture fashion is still a genre that many in the industry refuse to acknowledge as “fashion” proper, as you can imagine my heart sank when in a group interview with the designer of Alice Auaa most journalists began by questioning what he was doing at Tokyo Fashion Week and never even got round to talking about the clothes. Obviously the genre is integrated in an alternative culture to a greater degree than most, but that doesn’t mean you can pretend it doesn’t exist as arguably the recognized face of Japanese fashion abroad, and even in the Japanese mainstream’s consciousness of what fashion fans wear. I have wondered for some time as to whether the industry’s inability to accept populist and accesible fashion such as lolita or gothic fashion as important and relevant over what the kids shopping at GR8 are wearing might just be holding it back. It strikes me that this is once again indicative of an inability to appreciate your homegrown talent and innate shame in one’s own culture – but that is very much a discussion for another time.
The cleaner, more accesible location feels like a coming of age for the Go South produced shop that has taken the lead on mixing high-end fashion with the subcultural, realizing at long last that their customers are getting older and want a quality leather jacket as much an anyone else.
The mix of glam with goth is a new twist for the brand, but inline with current tastes in V-kei, a twist that has been a long time coming seeing how the look hasn’t fundamentally changed in the last decade.
The most satisfying thing about the opening was the range of customers, there were older types looking at premium pieces from brands like Divka (who are an accepted part of Tokyo Fashion Week), but also young girls picking up Japanese school uniforms with manga-tinged details. It seemed pleasantly representative of people who are interested in both alternative culture and the fashion that you live it through.
It was also gratifying to see how colourful the new face of Tokyo gothic is.
Still, the over-processed fabrics and distressing are not going anywhere fast.
The mix of brands looks like it is really working for the shop and it will be interesting to see whether other shops start bringing in more fashion-oriented brands to add credibility to the subculture led work elsewhere.
Some of their younger, more feminine lines.
Their mascot rearing its cute head.
Pay the shop a visit if you can up on the 5th floor of Marui One in Shinjuku and if you can’t then I will keep you up to date here.