Known globally as a hotbed of unique, bizarre, and trend setting fashion, the Tokyo neighborhood of Harajuku is synonymous with Japanese style. Led by Shoichi Aoki, FRUiTS magazine has been documenting candid street fashion in Harajuku for over 20 years. The recent announcement by Aoki to shutter the publication is another sign of Harajuku's unfortunate homogenization and commercialization. QZ speaks with Shoichi Aoki and charts the rise and decline of Harajuku's unique style in the face of social media and fast fashion. Find an excerpt below and read the full article at HERE.
In the 1990s, the area was the epicenter of a new look that came to symbolize the uninhibited essence of Japan’s fashion-forward youth culture. An eclectic, unruly overload of influences, sometimes colorful as a pinwheel, exaggerated and accessorized to cartoonish effect, Harajuku style has come to represent Japanese fashion—and indeed Japan—to much of the rest of the globe.
But Harajuku has changed. That frenetic signature image has been co-opted and commercialized by corporations, celebrities, and attention-seekers, and ultimately replaced by one more conservative and less unique among Tokyo’s style-conscious kids. These days, they’re more likely to wear mass-market clothing from Uniqlo and other international clothing chains.
Aoki says there are no longer enough fashionable people who fit the look to put out a magazine every month, and so he’s shuttering FRUiTS, marking the end of an era. Depending how you define it, that era may have actually ended some time ago.