When we have talked about Primitive London on Tokyo Telephone in the past, it has usually been in the context of it being a bastion of real Japanese fashion in London, but this time they are bringing the best of the London underground to Tokyo. From today until the end month, the entirety of the 3rd floor of Fake Tokyo Shibuya (the building that houses the legendary Candy and Sister boutiques) has been turned over to Andrew and Lui from Primitive to do as they please with and to give Tokyo a taste of what is going on in the clubs, and on the streets of the UK. It is an obvious match for Fake to be their hosts while in Tokyo, as Candy owes a huge amount of its own success to London designers, but while brands that they keep like KTZ do embue London fashion, they are also a perfect match for Japan; what Primitive brings to the table, is a rare chance to see designers who aren’t such an obvious match for the Tokyo scene. Hopefully through this bit of fashion cultural exchange, Primitive can have their voice heard in the city, and represent something different that the UK has to offer.
Looking round the space at the pre-opening party, the difference between Candy and Primitive was clear. There may have been the same familiar splashes of colour and bold imagery, but on the whole there is something more muted about the latter’s choice of designers. Across the board there were less embellishments and excessive details, more broad panels and sportswear influences which left it feeling on the whole, a little more serious and a little less gaudy. In that sense it nailed the feeling in underground UK fashion, that has departed from the slightly overdone club kid look that Tokyo has fallen for. I am not coming down on either side with that judgement, I just think that both takes fit their respective cities. In Tokyo you can dress head to toe from Candy and not stand out, whereas in London it is the constant battle to look like you haven’t made much of an effort that rules most wardrobes day to day.
Either way, I hope you can see that what Primitive has brought to Tokyo is a very different curated view of London fashion that no other Japanese shop is offering right now, and you owe it to yourself to make the trip to Fake to see it while it is on. Thanks to the high yen the prices are good, there is a really diverse selection of brands, and this is probably the only Tokyo stockist many of these guys are going to have this season.
The opening party:
One half of the creative team behind Primitive, Andrew captured in the video room where each UK brand will take it in turns to be showcased this week.
The Primitive aesthetic is, as the name suggests, finding the beauty in the clean, simple and most importantly, everyday items, materials and shapes.
The latest from the criminally cool Dharma Taylor.
And finally your host, transfixed in the video room.
For more on Primitive London in the UK go here, where you can even shop a good amount of Japanese designers online including Balmung and Banzai. No doubt Primitive have big plans for the future, and I can’t help but wonder if we might see a permanent Primitive Tokyo sometime soon…