Thanks to Japan’s love of envelope-pushing fashion, Tokyo has become the home of many fashion designers’ more adventurous endeavours.
But with such a high concentration of exciting fashion outlets (covering homegrown talent and international adoptees), knowing where to shop can be a little daunting.
To help guide your journey, here are seven iconic fashion pitstops you should save in your Google Maps right now.
Dover Street Market | Ginza
In 2012, after conquering London, Comme des Garçons founder and Japan native, Rei Kawabuko, brought Dover Street Market to Ginza. The opening of the store re-energised the suburb, which was acquiring a stuffy reputation as the home of Tokyo’s ageing elite.
Featuring a meticulously curated collection of over 150 labels and spanning over seven floors, Dover Street Market is the first port of call for any serious shopper visiting Tokyo. Part art installation, part fashion experience, it’s where streetwear and high-end fashion collide.
Opening Ceremony | Harajuku
Most self-respecting fashion lovers will be familiar with Opening Ceremony’s approach of stocking a carefully curated selection of both cult and well-known designers. After making its debut in Shibuya, Opening Ceremony moved its Asian flagship down the road to Harajuku’s more spacious Cat Street, the home of Tokyo’s most exciting streetwear outlets.
What makes this Opening Ceremony store so special is its uniquely Japanese collaborations. To date, the store has released collections by Yoko Ono, and model and actress, Kiko Mizuhara.
A+S (Architecture + Sneakers) | Harajuku
Japanese brands love concept stores, and popular local label Soph. (a.k.a. SOPHNET) is getting in on the action with A+S (Architecture + Sneakers). Located on the floor above the Soph. menswear store, it's a sneaker emporium stocked with a curated selection of street and athletic footwear.
Featuring leather couches and tasteful wooden coffee tables, this store is a cross between fancy living room and retail space. The minimalist space was designed by architect, Nobuo Araki, and is flooded with natural light, making you feel both inside and out at the same time.
Supreme | Harajuku
Though pretty much everyone loves Supreme, Japan loves Supreme most. And with more stores in Japan than anywhere else in the world, that love seems mutual.
Years ago, Japanese tourists used to visit the New York store to buy-up and resell Supreme, shaping it into the global fashion icon Supreme is today. These days, the country is actually home to two-thirds of the Supreme stores in existence. It’s also home to the most impressive Supreme store in the world.
From its second-floor location, the flagship Supreme outlet looks over the busy streets of Harajuku. It features the brand’s iconic interior design aesthetic of wooden floors, clean white walls and bare galvanized steel rails, making it an Instagram and hypebeast heaven.
Issey Miyake | Aoyama
Just a short walk from the aforementioned Opening Ceremony and Supreme outlets is Issey Miyake’s ‘Reality Lab’. Like contemporaries Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake can be thanked for revolutionising Japanese fashion – beginning in the ‘80s and continuing to the present day.
Tucked away in the more ‘subtle’ nook of Aoyama, this ‘Reality Lab’ is a concept store and avant-garde fashion experience rolled into one. The space was created by iconic Japanese designer, Tokujin Yoshioka, and is inspired by real-life science labs. In terms of what’s available, the store features the more unorthodox outputs from the fashion house.
“SOMETHING & ASSOCIATES” c/o OFF-WHITE TOKYO | Aoyama
Aoyama is also the home of “SOMETHING & ASSOCIATES” c/o OFF-WHITE TOKYO, the store run by Virgil Abloh’s OFF-WHITE label. Abloh currently only has stores in Hong Kong and as of last year, Tokyo.
Both concept retail store and office space, Abloh worked alongside architect and designer, Dong Ping Wong (of Family New York), to create a space inspired by New York’s Wall Street district.
“SOMETHING & ASSOCIATES” c/o OFF-WHITE TOKYO really pushes the envelope in terms of what a retail store is supposed to be. The stark space features two facing office desks and an office water cooler to enhance the concept’s authenticity. The walls are lined with racks featuring both men and women’s ready to wear garments, as well as many Japan exclusive items waiting for you to cop.
Studious | Harajuku
This ‘anti-department store’ department store chain is uniquely Japanese. Focusing on showcasing only local designers, Studious’ main mission is to bring the most exciting and progressive Japanese talent to the mainstream.
Featuring names like John Undercover and White Mountaineering, it’s the perfect place to pick up that one special piece from your travels. Though there are 12 stores sprinkled throughout the country, Harajuku is the best place to go, as it’s home to three of the stores.
Each Studious space has something unique to offer, though the one consistent theme throughout is the chain’s meticulous eye for retail display detail. The Studious team has both mixed-gender and gender-specific outlets, so it’s worth doing a little online research before you head over.