It is easy to forget that to the first-time visitor, 109-2 in Shibuya is a rather confusing place. While the logo of the place, lifts and adverts would persuade you to believe that it was a men’s edgy street style paradise, the Hello Kitty shop immediately on your left as you enter does not adhere to this image. The next 3 floors up are similarly at odds with cheap girly accessories and young-girl orientated outlet shops dominating and barely a whiff of testosterone. Of course as you ascend to the 5th floor (or wisely choose the lift) you immediately enter a world of blaring rock and trance, dark lighting and some pretty damn awesome clothes. You see, a lot of the 109-2 brands used to be mostly based in Harajuku and you can still see the Silver Bullet, Buffalo Bobs, Fuga, Jackrose etc shops on a single street back in Harajuku. Attracted by the prospect of playing a key role in becoming the male-counterpoint to 109 they gradually started taking over the 5th and 6th floors of the store that had previously been an outlet. I remember fondly when the prikura machines and hair extension salons on the top floor were finally kicked out in 2008. Back then I loved 109-2 and that was something of a proud moment that validated my style. It was just good to see men’s fashion getting the success and provenance it deserved.
Aside from the history lesson, I just wanted to share how important 109-2 is to me and however my style will change, it will always be oddly sacred ground! That is why it gave me huge delight to hear that half of the fourth floor has been taken over by male brands, including Midas and off the Neige. Great news, but I hear that there is something of an odd atmoshpere with the teen girl brands hovering next to the men’s and I cannot believe that this is a situation that will last, I give it a couple of months before the girls are scared off! But in all seriousness this is a planned move that will eventually see the whole of 4F taken over by male fashion.
To celebrate I thought I would dip into Midas that this year has managed to exceed my expectations rather significantly:
This is why I never write-off a brand entirely, as you never know how they are going to improve and listen to customers and trends alike.
My favorite items from left to right.
Fake but fun riders with this really cool early 90s inspired stitched artwork. Love it but would not buy it!
Brilliant red and black denim jacket, I am always looking to crowbar more red into my outfit and I think coloured denim is so much better off broken up in a jacket than as overpowering jeans.
Great ripped-up cape with buttons and feather tassels. This year, I will find a cape! I want something that dodges between feminine and ethnic and this might well be the closest to the mark yet.
And on the right is lamb leather ripped jacket with loads of asymetric details and over-long sleeves. Like an A-Z of trends – fantastic and very reasonable.
All in all I think you can tell I am impressed. They have raised the bar on quality of materials and finish, come of age if you will. As has hopefully the whole of 109-2, but until the whole building is for men (you can leave the cheesecake factory though) I don’t think its identity will be complete – but I for one think that this is a tide that will not be turned.