NOWHERE is a shop that has been at the center of the streetwear world it’s whole existence. While I never had the privilege of visiting the store before it’s closure, I was able to research key moments in it’s history.
Below is an excerpt from the brief history of NOWHERE I wrote, you can read the the rest over on Grailed.
Streetwear through the 1990s was a regional phenomenon. The success of a label was determined through its ability to proliferate amongst a local scene. Brands of the time found an audience through adjacent subcultures like BMX, skateboarding, punk and hip-hop to push their products. The ’90s saw the emergence of Stussy as a mainstream brand and Supreme as a force within New York’s downtown scene. As American streetwear brands built their empire, so did a young generation of streetwear designers from Japan.
Within the greater Japanese fashion industry, a particular area held particular influence: Urahara. The neighborhood was home base for those who ultimately would become the leaders of Japanese streetwear. Brands like A Bathing Ape, Bounty Hunter, Undercover, WTAPS and Neighborhood owe much of their success to Urahara and the community that grew around it. In particular, Jun Takahashi and Nigo started something special by opening NOWHERE in 1993. The original store was the first place to sell both Undercover and BAPE and it’s unique reputation and product mix gives it a legendary status in the streetwear world to this day.
The 24/7 media landscape is shrinking the world of music and culture. What that means for artists is that their fans can literally be anywhere in the world. Grime made big strides internationally last year with the likes of Skepta finally breaking through internationally in a big way.
Nigo is no stranger to finding stars within subculture and collaborating with them to mix cultures and influences. As the creative director of Adidas Orginals, Nigo chose Stormzy to be the face of the new Adidas Originals collection by Nigo. This short doc follows Stromzy as he describes his ascent from South London to making his first trip out to Japan.
2013 was a year of transition for Nigo. He formally left his role at BAPE after 20 years and began his job as creative director for UT (Uniqlo). Along the way he continued working on his own line HUMAN MADE which is a logical extension from A Bathing Ape. While the lookbook doesn’t show us much we haven’t seen before, HUMAN MADE is really all in the details. There’s an usual assortment of men’s casual staples including crew necks, beanies, and a varsity all modeled by Nigo himself. Human Made is expensive but being able to feel the garments in person at Haven, I do feel the brand has a certain intangible quality that isn’t found anywhere else. The menswear world has an obession with vintage and heritage but Nigo has always been that rare visionary who could bridge the gap between current pop culture and old manufacturing.
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This year A Bathing Ape turns 20 years old. Honeyee features several interviews reflecting on how BAPE has evolved over the years. Key figures from BAPE’s development including C.E designer SK8THING, and architect/interior designer Wonderwall speak how how Nigo grew from an influental Ura Harajuku shop NOWHERE to becoming a major influence in worldwide fashion.
You can read the interviews on Honeyee.com
Coca-Cola is a one of the world’s most recognized brands and a symbol of American influence. Historically Coca-Cola has been connected through the fashion through the production of licensed t-shirts and other collectable items. In the above videos NIGO® constructs an over-sized version of the Human Made logo using Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, and Mello Yellow cans and speaks with Beams Men’s Creative Director on the inspiration behind the new range of Coca-Cola branded menswear. The collection features basic t-shirts and button-downs but also work-wear items that are crafted on what actual Coca-Cola employees wear.
I have begun to explore further into the world of Japanese menswear and the history of it’s development. While browsing LN-CC I came accross this feature in which LN-CC speaks with Hiromichi Ochiai of Facetasm and the design team behind SASQUATCHfabrix The Wonder Workers Guerilla band.
An excerpt from the terrific feature below.
‘It was against this background that a new movement of street fashion and culture began to gather momentum. Centered around a small area of Harajuku, a rag-tag collection of young designers and retailers began to make their mark on Tokyo’s landscape of fashion and culture. Known by Japanese fashion press as the “Ura-Harajuku movement”, the group was spearheaded by designers, proprietors and cultural figureheads such as Hiroshi Fujiwara, Nigo (A Bathing Ape) and Takahashi Jun (Undercover). Through their proposal of a new concept of design and retail, one which centred on the notions of “identity” and “exclusivity”, the “Ura-Harajuku” movement was to have a profound influence on Tokyo fashion and youth culture.
According to SASQUATCHfabrix designer Yokoyama, “In those days, rather than fashion, the notion of “limited”, “deadstock” and “exclusive” were the real buzzwords. Through these rare items you could become part of a minority – a minority based on a high sense of style. Searching, collecting and completing were the things we adhered to, we were all totally enveloped in the mania for this.”
Another notable feature of this period was the emergence of a variety of Japanese men’s’ fashion magazines who had a central role in communicating the values attached with the Ura-Harajuku movement to a wider audience. To this day, Japanese offline fashion press continues to have an undeniably strong influence on menswear trends through the country. The roots of this role can in many ways be traced back to this period when magazine’s like Popeye, Mens Non-no and Hot Dog championed the movement, providing key cultural figures the opportunity to express not only the garments but the wider cultural context of art, fashion and music which informed their lifestyle of their culture. This in turn served to fuel an army of “fanatics” who would rush to the stores like Nigo and Takahashi Jun’s “Nowhere” to snap up any new limited edition items featured in the latest issue, or hunt far and wide for the more hard-to-find pieces. ‘
Read the entire piece here