Fresh back from a visit to Tokyo, here are some of the best concepts we spotted in the city including a few brilliantly unconventional stores hidden among retail heavyweights and luxury boutiques.
Niko and… TOKYO
There are a number of ‘Niko and…’ stores in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, with its latest and greatest opening in Harajuku, Tokyo. The store combines fashion and lifestyle, selling clothes, books, plants and food through a ‘magazine’ experience that sorts product into ‘features’ and ‘regular articles’. The store also has popular Portland, Oregon restaurant Navarre on the second floor, and bike hire outside.
Sense of Place by Urban Research
Opened in March, Sense of Place is Urban Research’s very own fast-fashion line. The store feels like a hybrid of H&M and Urban Outfitters’ best bits, finished off with a large dose of Tokyo cool. The space houses a florist, take-away coffee and juice bar, plus a small section of stylish homeware upon entering the store before womenswear begins. Make-up studios and glass cases of luxury vintage designer handbags punctuate the space. The second floor offers menswear and a small restaurant.
Japanese fashion brand Jeanasis opened a new concept store on Harajuku’s Cat Street called Scrapbook (Jeanasis) at the end of 2014. As the name implies, the store is a scrapbook of Jeanasis’ ideas, from fashion, food, cosmetics and accessories. The interior features a lot of layering of metal, pale wood and concrete, with our favourite in-store feature being the seemingly floating staircase – created from a geometric juxtaposition of materials, starting with perspex shelving that leads into steps.
North Face Standard
This store from US brand North Face Standard, which opened a couple of years ago, caught our eye from across the street thanks to its striking exterior of windows filled with branded brown cardboard boxes. Inside, each of the five small floors has a different theme – from very technical outdoor wear to lifestyle collaborations unavailable outside of Japan – which change on a regular basis. The interior is bare and rustic, mostly using concrete and metal with small touches of wood.
Beyond the city in Osaka…
Saturday Surf NYC
Saturday Surf NYC opened its fourth Japanese store in Osaka this month, carrying the US brand’s full range of surfboards, clothing, accessories and grooming products across two floors. The interior is minimal yet soft, utilising lots of wood and concrete, with a blue glazed tile façade reminiscent of glistening water.