Nude n’ Rude Koenji, 2012

Back in 2010 I first wrote about Nude n’ Rude – a goth/punk/fetish/alternative fashion store in Koenji, Tokyo.

I always try to visit Nude n’ Rude as I just love so many of the labels they carry, known to us in the west – like Iron Fist, Kreepsville 666, Lip Service, Demonia etc…as well as other Japanese labels and now their own Nude n’ Rude Couture 2012 line.

Since I was in Koenji recently for Secret Dog, ilil etc, I decided to combine them in the one afternoon shopping trip (along with a few other stores, still to come in future posts).

I wondered what had changed since my last visit a year ago. Peering in the shop windows, I was heartened to see the same kinky, kooky, retina-searing flavour throughout:

Nude n Rude store window [Read more...]

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 

The girl with the dragon tattoo tights…..and the spine heeled boots

AKA “These spine-heeled boots were made for walkin’ round Shinjuku”.

I thought I’d post this Vlog from when I was in Tokyo – filmed in my little room at the Hotel Vintage Shinjuku. In it I show off some fashion finds, like these amazing tattoo tights (below) from the infamous and fabulous gyaru mall Shibuya 109:

punk tattoo tights  punk goth japanese tattoo tights

japanese goth punk tattoo tights

The store is called Poco a Poco, and it has an extensive range of tights, including Celeste Stein.  See the Poco a Poco official website for the full range. Mine are the Dragon Tattoo tights. I felt so hip and trendy wearing these, I tell you; I just wish they came in a non-footless version.

I also bought some tights in turquoise leopard (so me).

punk tights

I also show off the Dsquared2 spine heel knock-off boots from Glad News (still my fave gal store)

spine heeled boots from Glad News

spine heels on Glad News boots

The boots are here in the Glad News webstore, (but they’re sold out except for a few left in small).

I also show a strange accessory that looks like a black PVC octopus, to be worn as a shoulder accessory or even a bustle! I saw it in Sexpot Revenge Harajuku (where I purchased it), and also in Nude n’ Rude. I have updated posts on these stores coming up soon; for past blog posts see my previous Nude n’ Rude post, and Sex Pot Revenge store in Harajuku.

I also chat about some of the walks I’ve been filming round Shinjuku, and what I’ve been up to. But heck, enough about what’s in it, why not have a look for yourself?

I also bought a pair of spiked ankle boots from Dog in Harajuku, that were Lita knock-offs. What do you think of the spine heeled knock-off boots? Given that they cost a third of the price of the original shoes, would you buy them? Have you ever bought knock-off iconic footwear? What are your faves? If you know of any other cool tattoo tights, do share as well!

3 year blogiversary! The Tokyo Obsession

I missed it by one week, but on October 7 this lil blog turned 3! I decided to re-post my very first blog post (originally on the blogger platform). It was titled “The Tokyo Obsession”.

Near Takuya Angel store, Harajuku
I have a confession to make. I know I’m not the only one to fall in love with Japan. But when I first visited last year, it was on a whim.

[Read more...]

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

[Read more...]