2F Minami-Aoyama City House, 5-4-44, Minami-Aoyama
Socrates taught Plato; Plato taught Aristotle. Rei Kawakubo mentored Junya Watanabe, and both mentored Chitose Abe. In 1999, she started her own label, Sacai (a derivation of her maiden name, Sakai). You’d think a store would be quick to follow, but Abe doesn’t follow the same old playbook. She waited twelve years before opening her flagship in Tokyo’s Aoyama neighborhood. The store was a collaboration with rising starchitecht Sosuke Fujimoto, and the results are a perfect complement to Abe’s designs: a space that embraces the contemporary and the classic, bringing both together to create something truly new.
Obviously, you have to go to Harajuku. Tokyo’s epicenter of street style sets trends all around the globe, and one of the key stores that helps propel those trends is Tokyo institution WEGO. While it may look at first like a vintage store, everything at WEGO is new—and relatively inexpensive. The store is a riot of Japanese and American pop culture (are those the California Raisins over there? Yep). If you need any guidance on what to buy, just look around you—the store’s staff is a walking look book for the latest and greatest styles in stock.
7-7-21, Minami-Aoyama, Minato
Sure, you can go to 45rpm’s shops in New York or San Francisco, but you can also go to a day spa in a strip mall—it’s not the same thing. Pay a visit to this legendary label for its simple, beautifully constructed men’s and women’s clothes that mix elements of the Japanese countryside with European silhouettes. The shop is worth visiting on its own: a simulacrum of a Japanese residence, with floors rinsed as per Shinto tradition, and series of quiet rooms to display the label’s brilliance with cotton, denim, and indigo.
2-5-8 Iwai Buildong Jingumae, Shibuya
Tokyo has a lot of denim. Some of it’s great. Much of it is caught up in an orthodoxy that is stifling, however. Mine Denim, the brainchild of noted Tokyo stylist Tsuyoshi Noguchi (whose work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle, among other places), is a departure from that tyranny. The store, located in Shibuya, juxtaposes intricately inlaid wood floors with crisp white walls and a stark, black staircase. His men’s and women’s collections use the Japan’s beloved denim, but in new and creative ways (his collection of dramatic, flowing skirts will take your breath away).
153-0051 Tokyo, Meguro
The store’s name comes from a Japanese real estate term: 1LDK means a one-bedroom apartment with a common living/dining/kitchen area. 1LDK’s store is decidedly larger—it’s spread out over two buildings that are across the street from each other. One building houses the menswear collection, while the other contains the women’s line, housewares, and the café. Look for clothing and other items in muted hues of beige and grey, and enjoy a coffee or beer at the café for a quick break. When you’re done, stroll around the nearby canals of the always-hip Nakameguro neighborhood.
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