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Fashion week is here again; see what the ordinary folk are invited to

by Misha Janette and Samuel Thomas

Don’t miss out on Tokyo Fashion Week

Come March 17-22, a parade of models, fashion editors and designers will sweep through the city for the bi-annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. While insiders will be treated to the usual slew of glamorous parties, that doesn’t mean that “fashion week” is completely exclusive.

Try Ginza Fashion Week at some of Tokyo’s most prominent department stores for off-the-rack fashion shows and other events. Want something more underground? Then head to Tokyo Creator’s Park at Shibuya’s Seibu department store, where you’ll find goods from some of the top up-and-coming brands such as Chaolu Lab and Ventriloquist. If pop culture is more your style, then don’t miss Tokyo Runway in Yoyogi National Stadium on March 21 — a day-long extravaganza of the trendiest looks sported by more than 100 popular models. Finally, March 22 sees the Shibuya Fashion Festival, where hundreds of retailers throw in-store events and provide snacks or freebies to shoppers at Miyashita Park, right by the Shibuya venue of Tokyo Fashion Week. (M.J.)

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week: tokyo-mbfashionweek.com Seibu: www2.seibu.jp/usrinfo/index.html Tokyo Runway: tokyo-runway.com Shibuya Fashion Festival: www.shibuyafashionfestival.com

Mad about the Boy

Boy London has come a long way since Billy Idol worked its till in the original 1970s Kings Road shop. It fast became the uniform of London’s ’80s Blitz Kids clubbers (who included the likes of Boy George), and now it’s sitting comfortably on the shoulders of a whole new generation of young Shibuya street-style stars.

Reaching out from its edgy East London flagship, Boy London has set up its first dedicated retail space in Japan. The shop opened March 7 and is part of a mass renewal of the 109 Shibuya department store, which is known for its gyaru (gals) style history and a reputation as a hub of Tokyo fashion culture. The presence of such an underground institution in this mainstream setting will likely have older fans flinching, but the power of Boy London is, as it always has been, in the new culture it inspires — and that is always authentic. (S.T.)

Boy London: 4F, Shibuya 109, 2-29-1 Dougenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. 03-3477-5111; www.shibuya109.jp

Another Opening Ceremony

New York-based select shop Opening Ceremony has opened its fourth branch in Japan, this time calling it a Mono Store (Things Store), inside the Shibuya shopping mall Parco. Although considerably downsized, it’s a welcome return to the neighborhood, where just last year it unceremoniously left a seven-story building it occupied down the street.

This new third-floor space is a small-goods concept store, offering fun knickknacks and accessories from Japanese labels, such as Toga and G.V.G.V., to exclusive pieces from internationally big names, including DKNY. There is also a highly publicized line made in collaboration with superstar model-actress Kiko Mizuhara. When Opening Ceremony was founded in the United States 12 years ago, it was inspired by a trip to Asia. Now it’s one of the most popular boutiques in the world, with Tokyo having the most stores for any single city. (M.J.)

Shibuya Parco: 3F 15-1 Udagawa-cho. 03-3477-5858; www.openingceremony.us

Blackmeans channels Sid Vicious

Bastion of Japanese biker culture Blackmeans is paying homage to one of its fashion idols with a Sid Vicious-themed capsule collection available nationwide later this month.

The centerpiece is a replica of Sid Vicious’ motorcycle leather jacket, minus the badges, studs and sweat, but with the recognizable broad epaulettes and proportions perfected over countless revisions by the Blackmeans team. With a strict limited-edition run of just 50, each jacket is hand dyed and artfully aged to look like it has already seen a lifetime of hot and heavy gigs.

To complete the look, Blackmeans has also created a number of punk bondage belts, all featuring the brand’s trademark eagle logo on the buckle. For those who really want to display their Tokyo biker colors, the buckle can be removed and worn on the jacket’s waist belt. (S.T.)

Blackmeans: 03-3329-1627; blackmeans.com

Still king of the urban jungle

No one was ever really worried about A Bathing Ape (BAPE) founder Nigo when he sold off his wildly popular brand in 2010. This year, he’s proving he is still king of the urban jungle. First, he signed up as the first creative director of retail giant Uniqlo’s UT T-shirt line, and has started this season by overseeing around 1,000 designs — from anime and cartoon-character prints to Kyoto artisinal-inspired motifs. He also wasted no time bringing his friends into the fold, announcing hip-hop producer and singer Pharrell Williams as a collaborator.

Not stopping there, Nigo now has a longterm deal to design for Adidas’ Originals line, with the first collection rolling out in fall, and he still designs for his own Human Made label, while producing music for hip-hop group Teriyaki Boyz. (M.J.)

www.uniqlo.com