Dog Harajuku is a Tokyo fashion institution that really needs no introduction. Whether you are a late-comer who knows it as the place that Lady Gaga shops at in Tokyo or if you remember it back when the staff used to whack in studs on the street in front of the entrance, ultimately, if you are into Japanese fashion you will have passed through this hub at some point. On the other hand I know that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to pop in whenever they fancy it, so we thought it was long overdue a full introduction here on Tokyo Telephone. We are going to be taking an indulgently close look inside over the next three days, and today is going to be a general introduction to the place and its unique aesthetic that has largely remained unchanged no-matter how the other trends that run through Harajuku may have fluctuated.
Primarily I think the genius of Dog Harajuku is that refusal to let anyone dictate the trends of the moment to it, the owner Kai’s unique take on glam goth meets 80’s Vogue with genuine punk spirit has at various points been the toast of Tokyo, but when it hasn’t he is not one to pander and rather just gets back to creating. On that note, the majority of what Dog Harajuku sells is reworked vintage, so you will find museum quality 80s punk jackets given a refurb and then if there is any empty space left on the leather for hand-painting or studs, then Kai gets to work. Next to the re-made and original items you will also find premium vintage pieces of such rarity that a trip here is really like a visit to a museum for a real fashion fan and on any given day you can find brand new original Boy London watches next to award winning haute couture from Takashi Nishiyama. On top of that Dog Harajuku is also a great place to spot fresh talent, we were last there officially for a Johan Ku exhibition and this was also the very first place that I actually saw runurunu and Balmung items on racks.
Words can only get you so far, so today I just want you all to drink in the atmosphere and feel like you are occupying the same space that pretty much anyone who has ever mattered in Japanese fashion has trod in their time.
Convoy has long been the face of Dog Harajuku, especially now that Kai spends most of his time at the sister shop – Secret Dog in the Kitakore building Koenji, and he is always an inspirational presence whenever you spot him on the street. Other staff members include Ikeda Hirari (who is now sporting a fabulous shaved head), and all in all you would be hard pushed to find a cooler shop on the face of the planet, enjoy:
The graffitied and signed entrance – always worth a read to see who has been in lately.
Tomorrow we are going to be looking at some of our favorite pieces from the shop, and hopefully you have a good feel for the place now. At the very least I trust you are starting to see why this is probably the most important single shop in Harajuku, and I promise that by the time we are finished that is going to be made emphatically clear.