Eagle-eyed followers of Tokyo Telephone on twitter and tumblr might have noticed a recent photo I popped online of exciting new magazine .Ruby from the creators of Fruits, Street and Tune. More than a few people have asked what .Ruby is all about, so as soon as it was released I dashed down to our local bookshop (alas, not the secondhand one we live above) and picked up a copy of the very first issue.
According to Aoki Shoichi (he of the world-famous and highly influential Fruits street fashion photography magazine – I don’t need to go into detail, do I?), .Ruby came about after seeing an increase last year in girls of a certain fashion aesthetic around Tokyo: girls who mixed 109 brands and gyaru looks with high fashion, vintage and more quirky clothing. Aoki is quick to point that .Ruby isn’t really the ‘other side’ of Fruits, despite a focus more on Shibuya styles rather than Fruits’ favourite hunting ground of Harajuku. Interestingly he says that .Ruby doesn’t have a single focus – it’s not specifically a Shibuya street fashion magazine, so perhaps the term ShibuHara is a little more applicable?
On the matter of unusual punctuation, .Ruby’s working title was Red Berry, however the producers felt that Ruby seemed to capture the image of ‘searching for a jewel in the sand’… and the single period at the start is (I’m not joking) there for edginess.
As to what’s inside the pink-tinted cover of .Ruby, much as you’d expect from the Fruits, Street and Tune makers, it’s all about the street snaps. Interestingly, .Ruby’s fragments of text detailing outfit rundowns and locations are in both Japanese and English, making it more accessible for those of us who love Japanese street fashion but can’t get our heads around kanji – a smart marketing move that is sure help international sales in a world where print media is declining. The street photos have mostly been taken in Shibuya and Harajuku (another sign that these two locations are increasingly crossing over in fashion terms), but also Roppongi, Shinjuku and Omotesdando, although the former does outweigh the later.
With regard to the clothing and styles highlighted by .Ruby, I personally find it to be quite representative of women in Tokyo in their 20s. The average age in .Ruby is around 25, with the majority ranging from 19 to 31, but Aoki makes it clear that .Ruby isn’t a graduation from Fruits. Needless to say that the girls photographed for .Ruby have been cherry-picked from just half a dozen streets from the whole of Tokyo, but I do think that the image portrayed is fairly accurate. Perhaps a little ‘blogger’ style at times, and certainly with an eye on European and Japanese fast fashion brands (109’s Emoda is featured heavily) as well as vintage and unusual items… I think it’s great to see so many young women who aren’t teenagers but are still heavily invested in developing and refining their own personal styles. I also think it’s testament to the fact that it’s perfectly possible to create a stunning and unique outfit solely from what you might think of as ‘mainstream’ brands compared to the rest of Japanese fashion. What .Ruby lacks in truly innovative and boundary-pushing co-ordinates and design, it more than makes up for in credibility and showing a different facet of Japanese street fashion, one that is sure to find many fans across the world.
So readers: do you reckon you’ll be taking a further look at .Ruby? Let us know what you think!