“It was against this background that a new movement of street fashion and culture began to gather momentum. Centered around a small area of Harajuku, a rag-tag collection of young designers and retailers began to make their mark on Tokyo’s landscape of fashion and culture. Known by Japanese fashion press as the “Ura-Harajuku movement”, the group was spearheaded by designers, proprietors and cultural figureheads such as Hiroshi Fujiwara, Nigo (A Bathing Ape) and Takahashi Jun (Undercover). Through their proposal of a new concept of design and retail, one which centred on the notions of “identity” and “exclusivity”, the “Ura-Harajuku” movement was to have a profound influence on Tokyo fashion and youth culture.
According to SASQUATCHfabrix designer Yokoyama, “In those days, rather than fashion, the notion of “limited”, “deadstock” and “exclusive” were the real buzzwords. Through these rare items you could become part of a minority – a minority based on a high sense of style. Searching, collecting and completing were the things we adhered to, we were all totally enveloped in the mania for this.”
Fascinating article on the mens fashion movement in Tokyo in the 90s at LN-CC
The black wool blend fabric provides a lot of depth while keeping coordination options open, and there’s both a drawstring and a zipper at each ankle to give you more control over the silhouette. The fit is quite loose, so size down one for a slimmer look.
Kiryuyrik has received some great exposure this year for their fresh take on streetwear — particularly with their enormously successful Napoleon Jacket — and these satin ribbed cargos are a great example of that. Its a variation of the popular thick-leggings-under-shorts look that incorporates everything into one piece and looks slightly less contrived and more sporty.
Another great example from Kiryuyrik are these incredible bondage cargo pants. The strap details bring in a punk edge without venturing too far into Tripp territory. The straps also allow you to adjust the fit into perfect slim anti-fit territory.
So those are my favourite cargo pants of the season. If you have any questions about availability, feel free to ask. How do you feel about it? Does the cargo trend have you in its pocket (har har)?
The last time I heard about 109 men’s was back in April, through this article on Tokyo Telephone about the redesign. I couldn’t be more excited about them ditching some of the garish excess and striking a more mature tone for the onii-kei mecca. It seemed like the perfect rebirth after Patrick Macias’ 2010 obituary, and chimed well with Buffalo Bobs splitting off into three solid, also more mature, lines.
So what happened? Because something did. When I walked into the building this August I thought I must have gotten lost, or wandered into some annex - it couldn’t be the same place Samuel described in April. Maybe the rise of ora ora intruded, or maybe 109 management wanted one thing and the shops wanted another. The fact is the mature trend didn’t last.
Faux-italiana abounded, from gaudy polo shirts to random italian tricolor sewn onto absolutely everything, like a Thom Browne from hell. Glad News was still selling as much pink leopard print as ever. Everything sparkled, and in the midst of all the silver and rhinestones, there was very little to tell you that you weren’t back in the middle of the 2007 gyaru-o boom.
Except hostwear didn’t glimmer as much in 2007. This time it was all about metallic suits over metallic shirts, complimented with the shiniest metallic ties.
It was also daunting to see just how often items get copied and recopied by almost all the brands. It was impossible to tell whose studded high-tops came first, or whose wrinkled plaid shirt, whose asymmetrical shorts. After seven floors, you’re not even sure what was where anymore.
Nowhere was the resurgence of “outlaw style” more apparent than when I was on the fifth floor, caught between Jackrose, Lagust and Rhydeal, being stared down by skull prints, gun prints, skull-and-gun prints, skull-and-gun accessories, and some of the most orange salespeople I have seen upon this earth.
And since I mentioned the salespeople: they are ruthless. It’s impossible to walk around without hearing cries of “Nii-san! Nii-san!” calling you over. Just meeting eyes with a salesperson at the door is enough to get them going. “What are you looking for today? Come inside! We’ve got more items inside!”.
Once inside any shop I was followed around and urged to try on every single item I glanced at, getting a “Kore kakkoii ne, nii-san!” (This one’s cool huh, nii-san!) whenever I picked something up. I don’t think it’s a sign of lagging sales this time - the building was packed - I think that’s just how they’re trained to act.
Leaving was even harder, as I had to explain several times that I didn’t want to see anything else. Of course, you can always go with the Patrick Macias method: ”meekly say “Sumimasen, sumimasen” and try and get the fuck out”. If you do try something on, expect to buy. At Crystal, I made the mistake of trying on this oxford shirt and saying I wasn’t sure about the label on the front (which, by the way, is strikingly similar to the label on this Supreme oxford). The vendor was having none of it, and spent the next 10 minutes explaining how the label is the key point, proving it is authentic Buffalo Bob’s and ensuring my success with the ladies. Then he showed me how I could hide it wearing coats.
All in all 109 men’s feels more like an open-air market than a mall — it’s loud, messy and, frankly, a lot of it is junk. More importantly though, it’s still as brash and gaudy as ever, showing the surprising resilience of onii kei, and even gyaru-o. Personally, I was looking forward to the “mature 109-2”, but let’s be honest here: there’s plenty of better places to look for maturity than in a 109.