When it comes to popular Japanese fashion brands, the first things that usually come to mind are stores like Uniqlo, GU, BAPE, 6%DokiDoki, Yohji Yamamoto, ASICS, or the avant-garde, fashion-forward style of COMME des GARÇONS.
Although Japanese street fashion is usually known for its over-the-top aesthetics compared to the more minimalistic styles found in Europe, the most popular Japanese fashion brands are a mixture of all of the above: a combination of streetwear and high fashion.
Japanese fashion has definitely always been ahead of its time when it comes to global trends. This is why we've made a list of Japanese brands everyone should know and add to their shopping list.
Uniqlo is one of the leading high-quality affordable fashion brands around the world.
Entering the market in the United Kingdom, America, Korea, China, and many more, it has quickly expanded, due to lower prices while still maintaining the premium quality.
Uniqlo offers a wide range of plain everyday clothing, that can be worn at work as well as at home. The brand is mostly inspired by the minimalistic aesthetic of the Japanese while offering warmth and comfort.
Uniqlo does not sell many trendy or flashy clothes, but more basic items that you can use for a long time.
GU is a Japanese discount wear manufacturer, designer, and retailer, with 280 stores across Japan.
It is completely owned by the company “Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.” that also owns UNIQLO. Compared to UNIQLO, GU offers more trendy clothes, that are even more affordable.
This is why It’s more popular among the younger generations.
If you're a fan of kawaii things, then 6%DokiDoki could be perfect for you.
6%DokiDoki was Created by the legendary artist Sebastian Hasuda and has been bringing iconic kawaii styles to Harajuku since 1995. Although the age of decora fashion may have passed, the store is still doing well.
The store is also hard to miss, since it is in the middle of Harajuku, and the colorful kawaii decorations are greatly displayed in the shop windows.
6%DokiDoki offers an array of clothes and accessories for every kawaii enthusiast.
4. Yohji Yamamoto
Yohji Yamamoto’s designs can be found in department stores all around the world, together with his Y’s streetwear collection.
The designer is famous for creating oversized, black clothing from caps and sunglasses to drop-crotch trousers and blazers. A hint of Japanese flair can be found in Yamamoto’s graphic t-shirts and signature logos.
Yamamoto has collaborated with brands like Adidas and Hermès, and also designed for famous artists like Elton John and Placebo.
5. A Bathing Ape
Hip hop fans probably already know about BAPE.
This streetwear brand has been worn by artists like Kanye West and the Notorious B.I.G. BAPE was founded in 1993 by the legendary stylist Nigo, and is famous for its loud logos and Ape motif.
In 2011 Nigo left BAPE and sold it to the I.T Group, when it has become a more mainstream brand.
Also Read: THE TOP 10 JAPANESE STREETWEAR BRANDS YOU NEED TO KNOW OF
ASICS is a Japanese sportswear company.
They may be familiar to many because their products are sold globally through their own stores and resellers.
Their running shoes are especially well-known and have been ranked as the best-performance footwear on the market. ASICS is an acronym for the Latin saying “anima sana in corpore sano,” which means “a healthy soul in a healthy body.”
7. COMME des GARÇONS
One of the most well-known Japanese clothing brands, COMME des GARÇONS was founded in the 1970s by designer Rei Kawakubo.
The collections are still designed in Tokyo, but CdG is also a highlight of the Paris Fashion Week, famous for its dramatic runway performances and sculptural, draped clothing items.
COMME des GARÇONS pieces are a timeless piece for any wardrobe, however, the brand also focuses on staple garments with an eccentric edge.
A more casual but still luxurious entry-point to COMME des GARÇONS is the CdG Play line, which consists of cardigans, T-shirts, sneakers, sweatshirts, and more.
What Clothes Are Popular in Japan?
Japan is one of the best countries for fashionistas to go shopping.
Tokyo’s districts like Harajuku Shibuya, and Ginza offer the world’s trendiest and finest fashion pieces. Aside from luxurious brands, there are also many stores where you can complete your outfit on a budget.
Generally speaking, the Japanese dress code is pretty conservative. However, the younger generation is much more daring and extravagant.
Harajuku is especially known for its bold fashion statements. No matter if you are into the frilly kawaii styles or you like the Shibuya 109 style more, you can surely find unique outfits in Japan.
Instead of buying into all the mainstream trends, Japanese street fashion combines different colors and silhouettes. Above all else, the Japanese street style requires committing wholeheartedly to your clothing and lifestyle.
Also Read: 5 LESSER KNOWN J-FASHION BRANDS
What Clothing Brands Are Cheaper in Japan?
This may seem obvious, but Japanese fashion brands are also cheaper when bought in Japan, even though you may have the same shop in your country.
For all fashion enthusiasts, discovering some of the one-of-a-kind Japanese brands will be well worth your money and time!
For example, you should check out the more affordable stores, such as GU or Uniqlo to get additional discounts. If you are looking for luxury brands like Yohji Yamamoto or COMME des GARÇONS, you can also find them at a lower cost.
Believe it or not, one of the items you have to buy in Japan is sneakers!
At big franchised shoe stores such as ABC Mart, you can usually find sneakers at bargain prices. Japanese stores not only offer discounts, but you can also find many Japan-Limited model sneakers by famous brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Onitsuka Tiger.
Adidas is one of the biggest European sportswear manufacturers, but you can still find great deals in Japan. For some sweet discounts, shop at the Adidas Originals shop in Harajuku or Gotemba Premium Outlet in Shizuoka.
Another place to buy Adidas is the Adidas Brand Core Store in Shinjuku, which is one of the biggest Adidas stores in Japan.
If you're a sneakerhead, Puma should be your next stop for casual or athletic footwear. Some of the best places to buy Puma sneakers in Japan are Puma Harajuku and ABC-MART Shinjuku.
Just like with other Japanese brands, you may find Japan-exclusive sneakers that you can't find anywhere else - and at a lower price!
When it comes to finding cheap luxury goods in Japan, you have to know where to look.
For great discounts on brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Valentino, and Hermes, you can shop at Mitsui Outlets in Japan that are known for selling luxury goods, or at Gotemba Premium Outlet
Also, some good places to shop for secondhand luxury items in Tokyo are Komehyo and Book-Off stores. The Japanese are famous for taking excellent care of their luxury items, so you can easily find second-hand items in great condition.
What American Brands Are Popular in Japan?
Tokyo’s love for American attitude and fashion catalyzed this city’s love for clothing and sneakers in many ways.
Athletic footwear — both the performance and casual kind — dominates the sector in Japan, with Nike leading the market.
With Tokyo’s eclectic style landscape, a wide range of sneaker collector’s items also became popular.
Aside from Nike or New Balance, consumers also embraced models like the Reebok Instapump Fury. Meanwhile, classics like Converse One Star became must-haves among Tokyo’s trendsetters.
Converse is an American fashion brand that's been loved by all generations around the globe.
However, the Made in Japan models are especially popular and rare all over the world, which is why they have a higher value.
White Atelier by Converse is a shop in Cat Street, Harajuku, where you can get customized Converse sneakers in just one day!
Nike is a popular American sports equipment brand that is loved around the world and Japan is no exception.
During the 2000s, Nike became a true streetwear trendsetter in Japan. Since then, they established partnerships with Comme des Garçons, Atmos, Mastermind, Fragment, Sacai, and Undercover.
From heritage staples to ivy league uniforms, Japan’s tendency to re-imagine classic American styles is unmatched.
Among brands like Patagonia and L.L. Bean, New Balance is an excellent example of Japan’s love for the American culture. Shortly after the Air Max became popular in Japan, New Balance established itself as a major player in the Japanese market.
Lululemon is a popular yoga wear manufacturer from the USA.
One reason for the brand’s popularity in Japan is an increased interest in yoga amongst the young recently.
Lululemon has capitalized on this with a very strong brand image, together with excellent online visuals which are found all over the digital marketing platforms.
Lululemon is implementing locally focused digital campaigns that target Japanese customers instead of relying on an overall international strategy. This means that Lululemon has been able to get the attention of Japanese consumers without losing an authentic American feel.
Also Read: WHY ARE JAPANESE SO FASHIONABLE? - (JAPANESE FASHION 101)
Whether you are interested in genuine Japanese brands or imported goods, one thing’s for sure - you can get some unique items at great prices when shopping in Japan!