The days when Japanese fashion was instantly associated with gothic lolita, gyaru, or some other kind of subculture are well and truly coming to an end.  Maybe it is the influx of street snaps that aren’t all taken within the same 4 streets of Harajuku, or maybe that some Japanese brands and shops have finally came round to the idea of a decent web-presence with pictures that weren’t all taken on a mobile phone.  Either way, out of this new generation of tech-savvy, international-shipping friendly brands and shops one has risen supreme – and that is Fake Tokyo.  The last time I wrote about them explicitly was when they were just celebrating their 1 year anniversary (which was coincidently very close to our own) and they have gone from strength to strength ever since.  They have quickly become ambassadors for a more considered view of Japanese fashion that reflects the enormous amount of diversity on offer.  Interestingly their select-shop / vintage approach to fashion has existed for many years in the forms of institutions like Dog Harajuku or the Kitakore Building in Koenji, but Fake Tokyo embraced their status by engaged with their fans and it was that that made the world take notice.

But what might well surprise you is just how many foreign brands they actually stock, and I am happy to say that many of them are from the UK.  Candy in particular seems to have the eye for bright young things straight out of fashion school in the UK and I think many brands would not exist today, were it not for Candy’s patronage.  Of particular note has to be Soho favorite KTZ and the wonderful Gareth Pugh who finds himself styled very differently from what you might expect in the picture on the right.

And you have to hand it to them for actually stocking Kathleen Kye (on the right) – we are both massive fans here at Tokyo Telephone.

Seeing these styling photos is like a who’s who of upcoming designers and which established designers have managed to hang onto their edge despite their success.

They know how to style and they can spot an up-comer, but that alone is not all that rare at all in Japan and 10 a penny in Tokyo.  No, what sets them apart is how they sell the styling to their audience (which might well be down to having models for shop-staff).

Another sure-fire hit in the form of London’s own Bolshie.

But the proof of their success has to be in their reach abroad.  These days the name of Candy is on everyone’s lips and when Susie Bubble went to Tokyo, she went to Fake (and thanks for the shout-out!).  Needless to say when Lady Gaga was in Tokyo she was there, and posed with herself in pendant form:

More UK talent in the form of that amazing tunic and trousers from Fanny and Jessy.

For the record when Gaga was in Tokyo she did do a tour of the shops and designers who have styled her over the years including the wonderful Dog Harajuku, she wore an amazing Garter studded jacket for a TV appearance and another Candy favorite Christian Dada for her performance on MTV:

Gaga wearing Christian Dada Couture (see his catwalk collection here).

Also of note has been their styling for the Korean (but very popular in Japan) girl group 2NE1 (who also wear Dog).

Gareth Pugh dresses all round.

Ambush x Cassette Playa.

House of Flora

And the mighty Tarzan Kick!

I suppose the irony that one of the strongest forces in Japanese fashion is composed of a huge amount of UK brands and western vintage has to be acknowledged, but it is the common thread of perfect styling and an awareness for the second by second trends from the Shibuya streets that sets them apart.

They really must be congratulated for not only supporting the avant garde in fashion, but making it increadibly accesible to an audience who might never have dipped a toe outside the mainstream.  Right now, thanks to their styling of many key figures, media exposure and their internet presence, they really have become the new face of Japanese fashion and in my opinion – quite rightly so.

Oh, and they have an awesome summer sale, starting on the 15th – don’t miss out.

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7 Responses to Is Fake Tokyo the Most Influential Force in Japanese Fashion?

  1. Emmie says:

    You have no idea how much I love you for identifying the brands the 2NE1 girls are wearing~

    I was surprised to see so many UK designers on Fake Tokyo, though it does make me wonder why we’ve never really heard of them in our own country.. which is a shame because they need more recognition.

  2. Samuel says:

    @ Emmie. No problem! There are so many “technically” foreign brands for whom Japan is their primary market by a mile. As long as someone appreciates all this talent we are busy churning out!

  3. Julian says:

    Fantastic post! I now have a lot of new-to-me labels to look up. 🙂

  4. Samuel says:

    @ Julian. Glad to hear it! Candy really is responsible for bringing so many fairly obscure brands to so many people.

  5. brad-t says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I certainly hope it is not the case. Fake carries a lot of good items and has some good styling, but overall I find the finished looks often too ironic, too weird-for-the-sake-of-weird, fleeting inauthentic snapshots of what’s “hot” at the moment. Obviously you could level the same criticism at the prototypical host styling, but those looks do not attempt to carry the fashion clout that these do. The end result is something more costume than style, to me.

  6. Samuel says:

    @brad-t. I can see where you are coming from. They are rather unapologetically ironic, fun fashion. You just have to look at the styling of a silk Gareth Pugh scarf with a Bolshie studded machine gun in the first image to see their agenda. But it is representative of the Tokyo party scene, that like host fashion can be costume in its specific context.

  7. brad-t says:

    I guess as a very non-party person it doesn’t resonate much with me, then. haha

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