No requests for guest posting please

I will be writing here again, but in the meantime, please, NO MORE REQUESTS FOR GUEST POSTING!!

I’ve never had such an inundation of people requesting sponsored posts, writing posts for me with links in them, glorified advertorials etc. I have always written my own posts, and will do so again, once my play is over with and I have some free time. Yes, I may be missing opportunities but I just don’t have the time to field enquiries. Thank you.

Twiggy the iggy & seasons greetings

Wow! I’ve done it again – not posted for a couple of weeks. I have been “digging in” and just spending time at home being domestic, when not forced to be out at work.

This often happens shortly after I come back from an overseas travel trip – just when I have OODLES of stories to tell and photos to post.  I tend to come back to lots of early shifts, which leave me exhausted, and on my few days off I can’t muster the energy to reconnect on social media.  But in addition to this – we got another puppy!

Yep, my pre-chrissy wish was to get a little italian greyhound puppy to complete our family. We now have a little girl called Twiggy, and I’m smitten.

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Kitakore Koenji: Dog, ilil, Garter

One of THE hippest conglomeration of Tokyo designer’s dens is the Kitakore Building in Koenji, housing Dog, ilil, Garter, Southpaw (ex-Nincompoop Capacity) and more.

Not the flashy, extravagant, “I’m so money” kind of fashion stores you see lining Omotesando; oh no.  This is cutting edge punk, futuristic, amazingly quirky fashion, as sought out by the likes of Lady Gaga, and worn by the hipsters gracing the pages of street fashion bibles Fashion Snap, Tokyo Street Fashion, Japanese Streets etc.

Though not far from Koenji Station, you could easily walk past Kitakore. There is no advertising campaign about the venue and it is not well known by the average shopper.  In fact, a few years ago when I asked my Japanese goth friends to take me there, they didn’t  know of it!  Mind you, fashionistas and fashion bloggers do; there are more and more posts (like this one) extolling the virtues of the place, so it can no longer really be called “secret”. But mainstream it is not.

Even armed with a map this time around, I had to wander a bit before finding it. On the way I saw some wonderful buildings like this old style house:

Traditional Japanese house in Koenji

If you know to look for a puffer-jacketed mannequin out the front, and if you know the heavily-spiked punk jackets Dog is known for, then you will know Kitakore when you see this:

studded punk jackets in Kitakore Dog shopfront

Walk down the block a little and you can see the signs of the stores:

Kitakore, Garter, Dog, ili

The Garter entrance (below left) is one entrance, or on the main drag next to the stairwell to Southpaw (below right) is the more hidden entrance into the bowels of the building itself:

Garter Kitakore Koenji Kitakore building, stairs to Nincompoop Capacity

From the hidden entrance you walk downstairs, not even sure you should be going there, due to lack of signage. But keep going and you will stumble onto Dog and ilil, much whiter and lighter on the inside than you expect from the outside. (For a FANTASTIC 360 degree view check this site out)

DOG secret store Koenji Dog Kitakore Koenji

LOVE the bright blue leather heavily-studded jacket you can just see hanging on the door in the middle of this pic:

Dog store  Kitakore Koenji

Before even setting eyes on the fashion, the fantastical interiors grab your attention, especially in the case of the store ilil. I found myself very at home with the quirky eyeballs, strange anatomical/taxidermy items and general zaniness.

ilil in Kitakore Koenji

ilil kitakore mannequin 

ili koenji anatomical model

ili koenji kitakore

There ARE actually great jackets & other items to buy; it’s just hard to focus when so much else is going on visually ;)

ilil fashion Koenji Kitakore

I chatted to ilil owner Rachel while I walked around, who remembered Nadia & Cami of Di$count fondly, with whom the Kitakore designers did a collaboration a while back. See “Kita-kore Magik!” for more on that. Rachel, like the other Kitakore peeps, actually designs/creates/repurposes the fashion in a tiny little workspace at the back of the store. I love how Cami of Di$count put it:

It’s a whole experience seeing how the designers make so much from so little. The term ‘hole in the wall’ is pretty much spot on. Even in such a tiny space, the character and passion is overflowing – it’s such an electrifying little building!

Rachel and I chatted upcoming Halloween parties/clubs, but Rachel confided she was being alcohol and late night-free at the mo’, due to training for an upcoming marathon. How refreshingly non-rock n roll!  Ya see kids You can still be at the forefront of sub-cultural fashion and still have a healthy lifestyle :) Anyways, a few more photies before we head off; don’tcha just love the helmet adorned in “gold leaf” from Moet cork wrappers?? Totally inventive.

 Moet helmet, ilil Koenji

Looking out the window just above the jackets rail, I could see that sadly, the gelato coloured lounge setting was no longer present n the rooftop :(  See my post “Cool places in Shimokita and Koenji” for pics and more from my July 2010 visit.

No visit is complete without a troop upstairs to Southpaw, formerly known as Nicompoop Capacity. Honestly, the fashion isn’t my style at all, and it seems ever so slightly daggy secondhand stuff – but my aesthetic isn’t the same as that of japanese vintage-hipster-kids, so what do i know? Frankly, the stairwell going up to the store is more interesting than the interior IMO.

Southpaw Southpaw Kitakore

There are many other really interesting stores in Koenji, and some of these I will feature in an upcoming post. Likewise I’ll post on when I headed to Harajuku to see the other Dog store (amazing!).

For more inspiration/info on Kitakore and it’s occupants, see the links below.

Koenji’s Kitakore Building article from Nippon.com
Style Bubble post Kitakore Kicks 

Garter website
Ilil online shop
ilil tumblr
Kitakore building blog
Kitakore tumblr 

Next Tokyo visit, next week!

I take off for Tokyo next Friday…and am getting excited!

It has been 11 months since I was last there, unlike when I used to go 2 to 3 times a year. Last November I spent 9 or 10 days there and here’s a little recap of the highlights.

Shopping!

I bought this now favourite jacket of mine, a teal feather jacket from gal brand Sly - seen here with Issey Miyake Pleats Please lurex top and multi cross necklace from Black Peace Now.  I’ll be wearing another Pleats Please top I bought in an upcoming outfit post, but in bright aqua.

Sly Japan, Issey Miyake, pleats please

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Teal & Neon Yellow ASOS/Nasty Gal outfit

I received my lovely stash from ASOS and Nasty Gal last week…so just had to go and take some photos of outfits :) Teal & neon yellow is one of my fave colour combos.

I’m in love with these teal taffeta pants from ASOS…and I got them in purple too!

teal ASOS taffeta trousers, spiky neone yellow platforms

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