When it comes to this season’s anime, there’s perhaps none more eye-catching than the hyper-stylistic Crunchyroll co-produced “URAHARA,” a fashion-forward series that puts a colorful highlight on Tokyo’s clothing capital, Harajuku. Following the not-so-ordinary story of our three main heroines, Rito, Mari, and Kotoko, viewers are thrust into a world of aliens, sweets, and perhaps most importantly, fashion.
One thing many viewers may not have realized is that ‘PARK,’ the cheerful bastion of youth in which the three girls work at, actually has a real-world location just off the main street of Harajuku. Perhaps one of my personal favorite stores in all of Tokyo, even well before the anime was announced, ‘PARK Harajuku’ is a curated haven of internet-age clothing all falling under the brand’s tagline “FASHION x OTAKU x CREATION.”
The staff of the store, who unfortunately aren’t Rito, Mari or Kotoko, are all veterans of Harajuku in their own rights. Sharing a deeply-ingrained history in the fashion capital, they’ve seen trends come and go, as well as the rise of numerous brands over the years. Such a professional insight isn’t easy to come by, so we reached out to find out what brands they’ve especially got their eye on at the moment. Within this list, you’ll find brands from both Japan and abroad, as well as a few pieces that push the boundaries of fashion to greater places.
Without dragging on too long, however, let’s get right into it. This is PARK Harajuku’s must-check fashion brands of 2017:
1. chloma // Website // Twitter // Instagram
If you’re not at all familiar with Tokyo-based fashion brand chloma, that absolutely needs to change. It came as little surprise when the team at PARK recommended them, especially given they’re one of the most experimental emerging brands as of right now. From virtual reality/augmented reality collection drops, all the way to collaborative works with Aniplex, there’s not much chloma hasn’t done yet.
Every piece of chloma clothing is handmade by their small team of experts using extremely high-quality materials, but as such, comes at a substantial cost. You won’t see everyone walking around Tokyo in chloma clothing just yet, but I can’t wait until the day even more individuals start picking them up both domestically and abroad.
2. OMOCAT // Website // Twitter // Instagram
Most definitely one of the better known names on this list, OMOCAT has long stood as one of the most prominent anime-inspired clothing brands. Dominating the convention scene all around North America, and even recently the streets of Harajuku with PARK now stocking their clothing, OMOCAT presents a colorful middleground between fashion and anime.
From collaborations with Porter Robinson all the way to Hatsune Miku and Tamagotchi — if you can name it, OMOCAT’s probably done it. You may have also noticed a special ending card from OMOCAT featured in the first episode of URAHARA too!
3. Uchuu Summer // Website // Twitter // Instagram
With creative efforts stemming from both South Korea and North America, Uchuu Summer offers an out-of-this-world take on the themes of summer, nostalgia, and the dreaminess space. Flawlessly blending the color-palette of years past with hyper-cute illustrations, there’s absolutely no mistaking their signature flare.
We’re definitely expecting to see a lot more attention towards the brand in the near future, and can’t wait to see what they do next. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be able to just pop into PARK and get some of their pieces ourselves.
4. 50/60 Clothing // Website // Twitter // Instagram
For Indonesia-based designer Machine56, the future he envisions is already here, and it’s best presented through his highly-experimental clothing brand 50/60 Clothing. Every single piece is made in tiny batches, and once it’s gone, you’ll probably never see it again. With extreme attention to detail, and a powerful combination of graphic design and clothing, 50/60 is definitely someone to keep your eye on.
Within the brands street-ready collections, you’ll find a blend of jackets, helmets, and everything in-between. If you’re going to go all out, you might as well do it right.
5. IKEUCHI PRODUCTS // Website // Twitter // Instagram
Hiroto Ikeuchi might not be a househould name just yet, but his otherworldly creations are certainly going to be showing up in your feeds sooner or later. Though his brand IKEUCHI PRODUCTS might not fall under the typical umbrella of ‘fashion,’ the team at PARK were definitely adamant about putting him in, and it’s easy enough to see why.
Featured in a number of music videos, including TORIENA’s most recent “MELANCOZMO,” Hiroto Ikeuchi’s mind-blowing creations make for some of the most detailed works of wearable art. Combining both plastic model pieces and working electronics, there’s no denying Hiroto Ikeuchi’s place as a creative genius.
6. PRISMIC // Website // Twitter // Instagram
Started in February of 2015, PRISMIC are a gorgeous independant fashion brand that exists within a different reality than our own. Described by designer YUtuKI as both ambiguous and fleeting, words fail to do justice to the subtle beauty offered by PRISMIC.
With their Autumn/Winter collection expected to be just around the corner, we truly can’t wait to see what the brand has to offer, and we definitely expect to see even more from them in the near future.
Coming forward with such a diverse range of recommendations, we’re sure PARK could only hope everyone finds a little something for themselves. It’s always exciting discovering new and emerging fashion brands, and those offered within this list are definitely some of the names we’ll be keeping our eyes on in the coming months.
With “URAHARA” currently airing across Japan, and streaming online via both Crunchyroll and BiliBili, we’ve been having a whole bunch of fun watching the real-world locales of Harajuku spring to life with a colorful new attitude in the series. Interested in checking out PARK next time you’re in Tokyo? You can find their location via their official website, here.