Proving that Candy does not necessarily have the monopoly on re-made chic, H>Fractal have dedicated their original Harajuku shop to an atelier workspace leaving their La Foret shop to be the select shop for all the dizzyingly cool brands that exhibit there. The concept is simple – take the ACV items from H>Fractal and take them to bits, custom the hell out of them and cram them back together. On top of that they offer a personal service where you can bring in your own items and they will work their edgy magic on them for a very reasonable fee. This ticks all my boxes as well as reminding me of the spirit of old Harajuku where people would be working just off the streets, producing one-of-a-kind masterpieces (or mistakes).
Like my other favorite Dog, the key to doing this kind of thing well is to have a core aesthetic that is reflected across each and every thing that you create. At its best this kind of work allows a designer to represent exactly what kind of clothes they actually want to make, especially when they have to tone it down for their mass-produced collections. So with the their core collections of ACV as a starting point, lets have a good look at the clothes that these particularly talented designers wish they could be making all the time:
Continue reading for a look inside the shop and my favorite items that they have put out in the last couple of months.
This is a separate label from the main ACV line stocked at H>Fractal and is literally labeled as such so that you know that the item has been customed by the original designers – good to see them signing their work as it were, they should be proud!
And the shop itself in the tiniest of back-streets in Harajuku is definitely worth a visit for the experience alone. Their custom Louis Vuitton items have to be seen to be believed… A perfect antidote to the overwhelming foreign brands’ shops on the main roads.
I thought we would kick-off with something subtle! This has a lot of current season elements mashed up with gold studs and not a damn inch wasted.
From the back you can appreciate just how much work has gone into this beauty – amazing.
This is the current season geometric leather jacket given new patterned arms and a healthy amount of studding. By using their own fabrics for the custom work they manage to effectively brand each item to ACV – so rather than diluting the brand in the process they actually exaggerate it.
But they can be very subtle sometimes as well. Sometimes anyway…
A lot of their best work is examples of “perfect layering” where the layers are hard-encoded into the clothes, perfectly proportioned and permanently aligned. It is never messy, which lesser re-make brands can sometimes be.
This is one of my favorite concepts, where you take in a couple of your old t-shirts and they will re-sew it to one perfect top. I fancy doing it with some of my old Vivienne Westwood t-shirts to create a concentration of classic Viv motifs and iconic designs.
This time constructed from a wealth of iconic ACV prints.
A simple custom, this time only the drape at the front is added but it totally changes the whole piece.
A normal cardigan with leather arms and epaulets added. Including materials this came in at around 14000 yen which I think for a complete original is an absolute bargain.
They can even print direct onto leather, in this case with a fractal inspired dragon – very cool indeed.
It is the kind of thing that gets you thinking about all that could be done to the under-used items from your wardrobe, hmm…
A perfect punk capsule wardrobe.
And they do make items from scratch as well, although not to order, you are at the mercy of the designers imagination I am afraid (which is no bad thing).
I just how love how every little feature is designed on every item, even the stitching is in geometric shapes.
Just look at the detail on the cross – it too is made up of shapes!
An amazing blue, perfect for S/S 2011.
Like the majority of H>Fractal everything is unisex although slightly masculine overall.
I will never tire of triangles – never!
A stunning item to finish on, where the waist of a pair of jeans has become the cuffs of a coat. After all these amazing pieces you can stop noticing the nice little touches like that, but that has also got to be a testament to just how good the designer is, that these little things don’t need to be thrust in your face, even if the item as a whole is.
If you want to see more, and you should do, then check out their blog here and they even have a sale on where some of the items here are under 10000 yen. What on earth are you waiting for?
I hope you have enjoyed this look into this brilliant project. I think it is great that in this day and age that parts of Harajuku still thrive with this kind of atelier spirit, largely free from the business of fashion. But seeing as the guys behind this project are so involved with the culture of Harajuku this should come as no surprise. So leave the mass-produced mess of Takeshita-Doori well behind you and head into the cultural heart of Harajuku next time you are there, it is waiting for you…