By Kasia Szumna
The tall, silver cylindrical Shibuya 109 department store serves as a beacon to fashion mavens everywhere. The 109 Men's counterpart across the street pales in comparison to the chaotic eight-floor shopping mecca. Hoards of girls flock to 109 daily to purchase the latest goods from their preferred brands.
Our lesson today is all about Japanese fashion with representatives from brands like Liz Liza, Galaxy and LDS serving up their fashion fierceness in this photo set. These girls (and boys) are not just shop staff but also serve as “models” for their brands.
Important to mention is that taking photos inside the stores of 109 is not always allowed and it is respectful to ask for permission prior to shooting away. Many brands like to ensure their latest designs and store layouts are not easily copied by cheap imitators.
J-fashion encompasses many styles and influences. Some styles are hard to define and defy any concrete labeling. It is best to just accept the styles as they come and understand that fashion choices are always personal and unique!
Here we will go over some of the major brands that are majorly popular in Shibuya 109.
Liz Liza: This cute brand epitomizes girlish charm. With the lacy frills, floral designs and pastel hues, this look is only for the sugary sweet. Flouncy tops, jumpers and dresses are staples of each seasons’ designs. The retro girly aesthetic is not limited to clothing but also handbags, cosmetics, stuffed animals and home décor. Liz Liza is a well-known gyaru brand with locations all over Japan, an online store, plus shops in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.
(Did you know: Gyaru is the “gal” style prominent in Shibuya 109 and worn by many fashion-conscious females in their teens and early twenties. There are subdivisions of this gal style including the more extreme ganguro deep tan look, schoolgirl-inspired and princess types. These styles are definitely worth an Internet search.)
LDS—Love Drugstore: Pops of bright colors define this energetic street fashion label. It seems like the entire LDS shop has the saturation turned up to the max. These are casual everyday clothes made funky and fun. Harajuku girls like to mix up these pieces for an original look.
Baby Shoop: According to the label’s website: “black for life = black forever.” This wildly successful label claims to pull influence from African-American hip-hop culture. The key to the American influence in this trend centers on diluted stereotypes stripped of context and devoid of any true cultural understanding. Baby Shoop is one of the many fashion brands of the same vein. To gain more understanding of why these fashion trends exist I recommend reading Ian Condry’s “Yellow B-Boys, Black Culture, and Hip-Hop in Japan: Toward a Transnational Cultural Politics of Race.”
Galaxxxy: Inspired by 80s and 90s neon tackiness with a touch of anime spirit, Galaxxxy is not for the faint of heart. Girls that want to stand out will love this eye-popping brand. Recently the label collaborated with Harajuku fashion icon and recording artist Kyary Pyamu Pyamu.
Red Cat: Found in 109 Men’s is this beach-inspired casual wear shop. Classic items like t-shirts and jeans are staples of the store’s offerings. Many of the t-shirts feature ridiculous Engrish phrases.
Wild Party: Another 109 Men's brand. For the more daring man, Wild Party’s color palette is dark and most of the clothes are embellished with crosses or animal print. Bold t-shirts are tight-fitting and finished with a v-neck. These clothes are proper fittings for a guy ready to hit the clubs.
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