Harajuku fashion has grown, and Japanese fashion has become more and more relevant in the world fashion scene.
You are probably already familiar with some of the famous Japanese streetwear brands, such as BAPE, or the crazy Harajuku style. The Japanese street style has gained popularity in the west mostly thanks to the famous hip-hop stars.
Some of these brands may be hard to navigate online, but with google translate it gets much easier. We've put together a list of the most important brands to look out for if you want to keep up with Japanese streetwear trends.
What are some of the top Japanese streetwear brands and what makes them so great? Read on to find out.
Where to Buy Japanese Street Fashion
The Japanese streetwear aesthetics focuses on looser-fitting garments and traditional Japanese motifs.
However, Harajuku is much more a state of mind than clothing. Most brands were born out of a desire to dress and think differently. Each brand interprets its rebellious attitude in a different way.
It seems pretty obvious that it's easier to buy Japanese street fashion in Japan. It seems to be everywhere these days. The most obvious choice is to go to the source where Japanese street culture began: Harajuku. Shopping malls like Laforet have many levels, each of them offering different street fashion styles.
Shibuya, just a 10-15 minutes walk from Harajuku is also a great place to look for streetwear. Not only can you find famous international brands in this area, but also BAPE and Supreme, the two leading brands in streetwear culture.
In Ginza, you will be able to find Dover street market, a concept store opened by none other than Rei Kawakubo to bring together both known and unknown streetwear brands.
If you're going more towards a vintage direction, Shimokitazawa is the place to go. Here you will find vintage and second-hand items that you won't be able to find anywhere else. If all else fails, you can always go to Uniqlo, as you can find it around every corner.
If you're shopping for Japanese streetwear clothes outside Japan, you have to rely on online shopping to get the best quality streetwear. Most of these brands offer international shipping and exclusive online deals anyway, so you won't miss out on much.
After all, you can find some pieces similar to the Japanese style of street fashion in your local vintage and alternative shops. As we said, it’s not about the clothes, but the mentality.
Japanese Streetwear Brands
Any Japanese streetwear list would simply be incomplete without BAPE.
BAPE owes its popularity to the hip-hop artists, such as Soulja boy and N.E.R.D, giving a shout-out to the brand in their lyrics. Often imitated but never replaced, BAPE is one of the most famous streetwear brands in the world.
Also Read: HOW TO BUY BAPE FROM JAPAN (STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE)
NEIGHBORHOOD, which was founded by Shinsuke Takizawa in 1994, got its name from the neighborhood of Urahara.
NEIGHBORHOOD is one of those brands that used to be known only in Japan, but now announces collaborations with many famous Western brands (such as VANS). Takizawa draws inspiration from motorcycle and rock n roll fashion and is always searching for new sources of inspiration to push the boundaries even further.
This is why many look to NEIGHBORHOOD to discover new trends.
Mercury Duo is a female-centric brand. It focuses on the “sunshine girl” concept, with flowy floral dresses and pastel lace skirts. The brand's objective is to incorporate elegance, modernity, and nature into its line.
Visvim is a brand that was founded in the Tokyo Harajuku district.
Started by Hiroki Nakamura in 2001, Visvim is a highly demanded brand both in Japan and the rest of the world. The quality of the designs and materials is what sets this brand apart. Visvim incorporates unusual materials and labor-intensive methods into their production.
Visvim started only as a footwear brand before branching out to full apparel. Visvim's designs draw inspiration from Nakamura’s travels to America and their thrift stores. Visvim also has a separate division for women called WMV.
Also Read: HOW TO ORDER FROM VISVIM JAPAN
Undercover started in 1989 and draws inspiration from punk-rock culture.
However, it wasn't until 1993 that the brand really took off. Clothing from Undercover is the edgier side of Japanese streetwear. Aside from clothes, Undercover also produces zines. The punk influence can be felt across their product line.
Jun Takahashi, the designer, is considered an artist when it comes to clothing. For example, his “Brain-Washed Generation” collection is showing models who look like zombies, to portray how the media is manipulating us and making us buy things without even thinking.
Of course, the Japanese fast-fashion chain has to be a part of the streetwear list. The majority of the Japanese population shop at Uniqlo religiously, and now it has also spread to
American and European markets. The store started in the 80s, and until today they have been doing a great job of offering both contemporary and experimental, as well as classic and basic clothing. This is how they've kept their customer base loyal for so many years.
Although not as extravagant as other streetwear brands on this list, Uniqlo still contributes a lot to the Japanese streetwear culture.
From humble beginnings as an American Life shop, beams now has over 160 stores and four product lines.
The brand was founded by Etsuzo Shitara and Osamu Shigematsu, who get their inspiration from Americana culture, especially between the 1930s and 1970s.
The brand has since then collaborated with companies like Converse and expanded its offer with European-style clothing and clothing for women.
HARE retains much of the classic Japanese silhouette, including the wide trousers and the flowy sleeves.
The young Japanese love HARE because of the combination of affordable prices, and casual but stylish streetwear. The retail store sets the price bar very low for its young customers. The only exceptions are the items born out of collaborations.
Customers new to Tokyo's hypebeast scene will find HARE a great place to start from since it's wallet-friendly and the quality is guaranteed.
9. FORTY PERCENT AGAINST RIGHTS (FPAR)
FORTY PERCENT AGAINST RIGHTS (FPAR) is founded by Tetsu Nishiyama, a designer from BAPE. This Japanese brand conveys a provocative message with bold fonts and outstanding prints.
RAGTAG is Tokyo's most famous designer second-hand shop.
It features designers like A Bathing Ape (Bape), OFF-WHITE, and Comme des Garcons. Most stores have a high turnover rate so you better get there fast!
You can even find high-end fashion labels such as Givenchy or Chanel under the same roof.
Kindal is another second-hand store where you can find brands like NUMBER(N)INE, UNDERCOVER, and Supreme.
TOKKOU is a Japanese-born, but London-based fashion brand.
It is inspired by the Bousou-zoku '80s biker gang subculture. TOKKOU is known for its embroidered punk phrases. Although the brand is only a couple of years old, it is quickly becoming a staple in the Japanese fashion scene.
TOKKOU's prints, contrasting colors, and the use of Japanese characters really make it stand out, as well as the use of Osaka denim.
13. Cav Empt
Cav Empt is characterized by many interesting and simple silhouettes, but they also produce items with prints.
The founders have mentioned that they draw inspiration from dystopian motifs, such as the work of Phillip K. Dick. That influence can be seen on their website, as well as the cyberpunk aesthetics of their lookbooks.
Originally a denim brand in 1980, Kapital became much more than that.
Kapital clothing is vintage-looking clothing despite being brand new. This means the clothes look distressed and worn but feel brand new to the touch.
The products they are most famous for are jeans and printed bandanas.
Also Read: HOW TO BUY FROM KAPITAL
Shop Kapital Fashion Items Now!
There is no doubt that Japanese street fashion exploded in popularity between the 90s and 2000s, and some believe it has reached its peak. We don't think so! Japanese brands keep pushing the boundaries, and the numerous collaborations between global and Japanese street style brands are the best proof. With new brands like these constantly emerging, there is no doubt that the future of Japanese streetwear is bright, and we can't wait to see what’s coming up next!
How to get fashion items directly from Japan
The easiest way to get fashion items directly from Japan is to search for it on the ZenMarket website. You can do this by clicking on one of the shop tabs on ZenMarket. These tabs allow you to shop on Amazon Japan and Rakuten, Yahoo! Shopping Japan, or browse Japanese Yahoo! Auctions listings. You can also browse ZenMarket's very own store, ZenPlus, which has no service fee!
Once you have selected the store you want to search, type the Japanese fashion item or brand you are looking for in the ZenMarket search bar - searching using Japanese will often return better results, so if your search returns few entries, try translating them to Japanese first by using Google translate or other translation tools
Also Read: 5 HANDY TOOLS TO FIND JAPANESE PRODUCTS WITHOUT KNOWING JAPANESE
If you don't immediately find the Japanese fashion item you are looking for, remember to try searching in Japanese, or switching stores
I still can't find the the Japanese fashion goods that I want. What should I do?
Don't fret! ZenMarket has a couple aces left up our stylish sleeves! If you can't find the Japanese clothes you are looking for directly on the ZenMarket website, we have 2 tools to help you find what you're after.
"Find it for me" tool
The "Find it for me" tool allows you to just tell us what you are looking for. Our super customer support will then embark on amazing quest through the vast Japanese interwebs to find the item you are looking for.
For this tool, it is best to be logged in to your ZenMarket account so that our support team can contact you once they find your desired fashion item. If you don't, you will need to enter your details and a captcha every time you want our support to find something.
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Once they find what they think is the item you want, they will contact you and let you know. While this tool is really easy to use, it has one drawback - our support staff sadly cannot read your mind. They will do their absolute best to find what you are looking for but sometimes, they will find an item that may not quite be what you are looking for. In these cases, you simply need to provide them more information so that they can continue their search.
This process can be time consuming, and you may have to wait some time depending on order volumes, but we will do our best.
Alternatively, you can try out our other tool...
The ZenMarket "Magic" Search Bar
If you can't find the fashion items from Japan you want on the ZenMarket website, but you were able to find it on another website, simply copy the URL for the item you want and paste it into the ZenMarket search bar. You can then provide additional details such as size, color, or any other variables that we may have to take into account when purchasing the item.
Once you have submitted the URL for the Japanese street fashion item of your dreams, our support staff will check it to make sure that the item is in stock and can be shipped to your country.
Again this feature works best when you are logged into your ZenMarket account. If you don't have an account yet, register now for free and receive a bonus 300 yen!
Once our support checks the item, you will be able to move forward with purchasing the items and having them shipped to our warheouse. For more information on how to buy Japanese fashion goods from Japan, check out our blog on how to use ZenMarket.
And that's it. If you ever need any help finding your stylish street fashion items from Japan, feel free to use everything you have learned in this guide, or reach out to us anytime. Happy shopping!
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