Buffalo Bobs continue in their quest to become the singular most dominant force in Japanese men’s street fashion with their latest venture: Buffalo Bobs Hair – a hair and nail salon in the basement of 109 Mens in Shibuya. They have come such a long way since “Buffalo Bobs – Used Vintage Clothing” opened up in 1995 on the bustling street in Ura-Harajuku that would also be home to the other key players in the 109-2 revolution such as Fuga, Civarise and Luv Maison. Amongst those brands’ flagships that would play such a big part in my own formative years in Japanese fashion, only Rhydeal and Jackrose now remain on that street, the rest having moved to Shibuya. The reason? Onii-Kei got big fast and it seemed to quite simply be exactly what Japanese men wanted at the time. Forget the extreme examples that personify “Wacky Japan” and a couple of mistakes along the way, it was the base level that young men all around Japan (Buffalo Bobs alone is already on its 21st dedicated shop) brought into and I think you would be hard pushed, no-matter your fashion persuasion, to say it is anything but a good look.
Some have commented that the look is a case of young men rejecting the traditional image of Japanese masculinity and and others have questioned whether it is a case of men wanting the same level of self-improvement and indulgence offered to women by the fashion and beauty markets. Either way it is on that latter point that Buffalo Bobs Hair arrives to offer a hair and nail experience to men that has previously only been targeted at women and Hosts:
Continue reading for a look inside the salon and at its patrons – not to mention a bevy of Men’s Egg and Knuckle models…
The concept for Buffalo Bobs Hair is to have a clean glamourous salon that fits with the brands image with a touch of luxury and a spa area, but without pushing the price beyond the Shibuya/Harajuku average.
The staff are of a equally high standard having worked in-house with Buffalo Bobs in the past and the head-stylist has worked at JJ Magazine – so you are clearly in safe hands to say the least.
Though I am not sure I would trust Kentarou with a pair of scissors… Here he is styling as part of the opening promotions.
Elsewhere the launch brought out most of Men’s Knuckle’s finest to rub shoulders with the clientele:
Great stuff and just to give you a taste of the S/S styling for Buffalo Bobs as a brand this season we have:
The “Noir” Mode-fashion focused line and
The “Crystal” suit line for Hosts and Salary Men alike.
There is no doubt that Buffalo Bobs is doing more than any other 109 Mens brand to redefine men’s street fashion in Japan. They have pushed it right towards the Mode high-fashion brands while simultaneously packaged it as a glamourous lifestyle brand to appeal to the men who entered the workforce leaving Gyaru-O behind in the late 2000s. They have also been curiously successful in appealing to women with their choice of models and styling (and indeed word is that the hair salon was most popular at launch with women who wanted to get closer to the models).
Either way they have been one of the success stories of Japanese fashion amongst times of great austerity and change – they must be doing something right and I am looking forward to having my hair done there very soon.