As I have already established in the first part (here if you missed it) of my introduction to The Orchestra Show, the first project from Gypsy Three Orchestra, the purpose of this endeavor is to re-create the conditions that led to some of the best times that Japanese menswear has ever enjoyed. The three leaders of the project, Tsubasa Tokita, Kira and Hideaki Shikama all rose to prominence by virtue of the explosion of creativity in Ura-Harajuku that broadly speaking grew out of the 90s and led to the area enjoying the reputation it still holds to this day. In particular it is Hideaki Shikama, the man responsible for making both Cannabis and Acycle into the institutions they are today, who I think it is pretty clearly at the helm of this particular endeavor. Afterall, there are few others with a better understanding of the fashion landscape at the retail end, and especially of communicating with a highly cynical and jaded underground audience.
I think “jaded” is a good word to to describe most menswear aficionados in Tokyo, afterall they find themselves imprisoned by a reluctance to step outside of a conventional menswear wardrobe that brands like Phenomenon offer to the adventurous, and also absolutely saturated with the possibilities that wardrobe can offer them. Those who grew up in the glory tales of Number (N)ine and Undercover, who queued for limited releases without knowing exactly what was on sale, and who got their hype directly from the street and not Tumblr, are not really catered for these days. The fashion targeted at young men ten years their junior is going to be a shade too flamboyant, and lord knows they are unlikely to sell out and shop at department stores (although they might venture into Uniqlo for the UU line).
Perhaps the reason that no-one has had the perspicacity to target their work at this crowd, is because we are only just seeing this generation emerge as previously by the time they had seen off their mid-twenties they had long settled down with children and into a dark suit with a pressed collar. Now demographics are shifting and rather than it being a slim minority of outsiders who were justifying Comme Des Garcons into middle-age, it is rapidly becoming a healthy chunk of Tokyo.
So with all this in mind, what are we seeing with G3O? The first generation of movements to return menswear to a time of creativity? A chance for designers to sell directly to the public? A counter-argument to the Fashion Week system? Or just a continuation of the streetwear culture of the late 90s – early 00s, targeted at those very same people? All are fair propositions, and I don’t think it is necessary to try and draw too much from a single limited shop. But on the other hand, it is a sign that something is on the move, and considering the gravitas of the people leading to the movement, there is no doubt that it is not going to stop here.
With that in mind, I will round off our coverage with some of my favorite items from the shop which you should definitely check out if you get the chance: