"A suburban street near Shimo Kitazawa. His back-alley woodframe apartment house is built on a slope, giving it good exposure and even something of a view. A department store display decorator, he lives in a cheap 65,000 yen one-room plus kitchen, bath and WC apartment. Straddling the worlds of art and commerce - where he must take pains that "artistic elements work successfully on a commercial basis" - he swears by his thick Damien Hirst artbook, his iMac and all his Final Home clothes. What he no longer wears, he takes to the shop to get passed out to the homeless while he gets T-shirts in exchange. He likes the feeling of being involved in something bigger than mere fashion. He even has every one of the teddy bears (not just stuffed toys, they’re pocket warmers too) Final Home puts out with each new collection."
"The high ground of Yoyogi Hachiman, where on a clear day the panoramic overlook to the skyscrapers of the New Tokyo City Center in West Shinjuku is breathtaking. It’s a 30-year-old apartment with no bath and no elevator to the fourth floor, but the rent is cheap and it’s convenient to his job at a patent office in West Shinjuku. He’s big on Hermès, his "collection" having started from a necktie he bought when job-hunting "so as not to be laughed at on account of clothes." Now he carries a 500,000 yen briefcase to work, the familiar trademark orange bags and boxes striking a currious harmony with the sun-faded tatami mats. White shirts (Hermès, of course) all hand-washed and hung up to dry, ready to wear to work. No need to iron, "just snap them smooth by hand and they’re fine." He tends to sweat, so he always carris his precious briefcase wrapped in a towel. And no ordinary one at that - an Hermès bath mitten."
"A one-room condo in Sangenjaya, southwest Tokyo. Here lives a secretary who’s soul belongs to Yohji Yamamoto. In her first year working at a furniture import company, she was influenced by her mother who is big Yohji fan and she herself was "almost unconsciously just wearing Yohji." She refrains from wearing Yohji to the office because "I haven’t a single friend at work anyway and it’s already hard enough to fit into group activities." Her compact quarters are full of Yohji and other clothes, accessories and fashion magazines. Her prime objective for the moment is to move to a little larger place."
"There are plenty of clothes to fit the body, but only these match his heart and soul. At 36, he’s been wearing Christopher Nemeth for 16 years now. Originally from Osaka, this film lab salesman and part-time poet came up to Tokyo at age 21 playing in a band. When he moved into this apartment, he had too many clothes to store properly, so people from the Nemeth store came to help him out, so valued a customer is he. Sleeptime he wears old Nemeth shirts, but he can’t stand the clothes losing their finish, so he never washes them or even sends them to the cleaners. Last year, while out drinking with the staff from work, someone threw up on his jacket, yet even then he merely wiped it clean and didn’t launder it. "People have to wear Nemeth with power," says this avid convert. Even after all the clothes he’s bought, he never sells the ones he no longer wears to the second-hand shop. "That would be like selling my soul.""
"Only a short stroll to either Harajuku or Shibuya in southwest Tokyo, the residential neighborhood of Tomigaya is a peaceful backwater. But one step inside this perfectly ordinary condo and… what’s with this huge rocking chair? And this huge wardrobe, topped by a huge samurai sword? Some kind of weird taste, but in fact he’s quite a regular guy, a 25-year-old bike courier who’s been into "20471120" for 5 years now. Whereas most designer brands tend to put out similar lines season after season, "20471120" is totally unpredicatable: "grotesque" swellings this season, mysterious character Viny (on the bed) the next, so he never gets bored. Every season he drops a good 1,000,000 yen on their latest. Used "20471120" clothes can fetch extremely high prices, but he absolutely will not sell. "That’s a no-no in my book.""
"Asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered "a princess!" And now she’s a Vivienne Westwood fanatic. Her first purchase was 6 years ago, "lured by the Saturn trademark." And ever since, her whole life has been dedicated to Vivienne. She works as a clerk in an import shop that sells mostly Westwood fashions, and naturally when she steps out she’s "Vivienne head-to-toe." So extreme is her "look," people have even pointed at her on the street and laughed. Westwood clothes, of course, accessories, even promotional goods, all packed in startling quantities into her tiny one-room. It took her a year and a half to get in position for a job in a direct import shop, but she was bored "only wearing this season’s line," so she switched jobs. But her present problem is her motorcyclist boyfriend telling her to "go buy jeans and sneakers" - in all her 24 years, she’s never once worn jeans, and it’s unlikely that a helmet will do much for her hairstyle either."
COMME des GARÇONS
"Shop director at a trendy boutique in trendy Daikanyama, southwest central Tokyo, he lives the single life in a fashionable 3-bedroom condo. A dedicated Garcon-ist from age 24 - he’s 32 now - he buys masses of outfits from each new season’s collection, reserved especially by his friendly sales. Just ffor instance, this time around it was 2 suits, 2 T-shirts, 3 shirts, 2 knits and 1 pair of shoes, all for a mere 600 thousand yen. Hanging around the room are just hat he’s wearing lately; his past spoils are stashed away in boxes, filling a 5-tatami-mat (10 sq.m.) storeroom from floor to ceiling."
"In the fashion magazines that crowd the rack of bookstores and corner shops, beautiful models live beautiful lives wearing beautiful clothes in beautiful homes. Whereas my Happy Victims are neither strikingly attractive nor occupy handsomely appointed dwellings. And yet in all of Japan, they’re the ones who buy these brands most, not models. These Happy Victims unilaterally dedicated their lives to the brands they love despite getting no kudos from the sellers. But they’re magic to my eyes, they radiate positive vibes that transcend all reason."
Viewer 2: Two Nights in NorthbridgeAuthored by Matthew Taggart
Edited by Erik Bernhardsson
Publication Date: Apr 10 2014
19112013 - 23112013
ISBN/EAN13: 9187829002 / 978-9187829000
Page Count: 52
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 4.5” x 6”
Color: Full Color with Bleed
Related Categories: Photography / Photoessays & Documentaries