Shibuya fashion in all its beauty
Modern Tokyo Times
Lee Jay Walker
If you know little about Tokyo then you might be amazed by the fashion scene in places like Daikanyama, Ginza, Harajuku, Omotesando, and Shibiya because these places are hot spots for fashion in Tokyo. Each area is distinctive in its own right and despite the closeness of Harajuku and Omotesando the fashion scene, styles, and pace of events does change quickly.
This applies to the exquisite but exclusive Omotesando Hills which is very upmarket and you have state of the art buildings and a real feel of elegance. However, if you visit the backstreets of Omotesando then the environment is much more relaxed and a very youthful feel can be felt while browsing around small clothing shops. While the street zone near Harajuku train station is packed with teenagers and young adults and you can feel the atmosphere and vibes of the younger generation.
In Shibuya the fashion scene is also amazing but true to each main area it is clear that Shibuya is distinctive. Shinjuku is also a hub for fashion, shopping and entertainment and just like Shibuya you have huge department stores and both places are very lively.
However, the adult and wild side nature of parts of Shinjuku is missing in Shibuya because the area is aimed at younger adults and the reputation of Shibuya is one of safety and mega energy based on the clean environment and “place to be.” Therefore, if fashion, modernity, stylish environment, latest fads, creativity, and energy is what you love; then Shibuya offers all of this and despite the youthful nature of Shibuya, it is not exclusive providing you can mingle with the “in crowd.”
It is also noticeable that for Shibuya girls then hair is also important and clearly black hair is seen to be too stale and dull. Therefore, the in colors are blonde, light brown, reddish brown and other colors which break up the black hair stranglehold. This often goes hand in hand with punkish messed up hair with curls and other styles which are thrown into the mix.
Shibuya is not the sophisticated fashion look but in its simplicity it is fused with creativity and outlandish designs from time to time; therefore, the style is unique and energetic and like all fashionable trends it quickly moves on and regenerates itself.
In the 1990s the ganguro fashion scene hit Tokyo and Ikebukuro and Shibuya were known for this new craze but by 2000 this fashion peeked. However, just like punk music, the legacy lives on and mutates into new styles.
This fashion craze was popular amongst teenage girls and young ladies in the early 20’s and dyed blonde or orange hair was part and parcel of this trend alongside a deep tan and white concealer which was used for lipstick.
Coming from inner-city Manchester then I was not prepared for this striking fashion but being more youthful then, I could feel the energy and attitude. Also, coming from England meant that the punkish attitude was in my veins and the ganguro mindset appealed to me greatly and the same applies to aspects of modern day Shibuya.
This fashion in time died away but other trends emerged but the attitude of the ganguro which mocked the notion of traditional beauty and went against the constraints of a society based on conformity remains alive within Shibuya.
Shibuya fashion is not just about extremes it is about a mixture of fashion styles and just like life, it is never static but always looking for a new creative feel. Shibuya 109 is a hub for fashion and keeps on drawing in the crowds. If you want the more daring side of Shibuya then boutiques like Candy is for you or you can feel the vibes of the Center Gai area or Koen Dori.
What is certain is that fashionable people and unfashionable people alike will feel the rich and youthful energy of Shibuya, alongside the alternative minded fashion guru. Therefore, if you want to feel the teenage “within you” or if you are part of this generation, then Shibuya rekindles a rare energy and buzz whereby a world of carefree and individuality can bloom despite all the troubles of this world.