Words by Jasper Lipton
Pictures by Alex Scharf
The day started with a trip to Junky Special. What is Junky Special? Junky Special is a great place to buy Buzz Rickson's, Sugar Cane, Mister Freedom, and awesome Hawaiian shirts. It's in Shinjuku, directly beneath the train tracks. It's also the funnest store I've been in so far. Old-timey radio from Hilo, Hawaii, is playing in the background, surfing movies are playing on the wall, and the store is packed full of color, clothing, and racks and racks of denim. The slub is real. I tried on the Gibson Ma-1. They had it in a size too big and a size too small. It is really, really nice. And really heavy. I think I'm gonna buy one this fall.
This morning's garb - Randolph Engineering Skull Aviators courtesy of Huckberry, Kamigata jacket courtesy of Epaulet, Mercer Tee courtesy of John Elliot. Rick shorts courtesy of a pair of scissors. My opinion is that the Epaulet noragi is superior to the Visvim variant (we stopped by the store and camping trailer today), because it has pockets. Pockets are necessary. Pockets are impossible to live without. Plus it's like a fraction of the price. Win.
The smile goes better with Hawaiian shirts than with Rick Owens
After that, we walked through the Meiji-Jungu shrine and ate our delicious packed lunch of sushi rolls. Then we admired the shrine, and wandered through the crowds of Harajuku to the Momotaro store, which...isn't as fun as Junky Special. There's a lot on display, but it's just a space inside a department store, so it's not quite the same experience. You can, however, get the limited-edition dark gray pocket paint if you bring your jeans in.
Up next? Moto Leather and Silver. What a cool store. I almost don't want to say too much, since I'd like Alex to write more about it (his wife loves the shoes), but the Leather and Silver is really, really cool. And the prices are great, too. On top of that, the shop and the staff are very relaxing, so it feels like a place where you can take your time to enjoy the beautiful products they have on offer. Definitely, definitely recommended.
Now we get to the best part of the day, which I'm going to call: "SYNTHESE AND NICELYNICE GO TO JULIUS"
The Julius flagship is a small shop in Diakanyama, and it is maybe a bit out of place on the pristine streets of the area. I was expecting, I don't know, a hidden entrance through the back wall of a ramen shop, past a man selling eyeballs. No, it's up a flight of stairs on the second floor of a respectable-looking building. There we met Josh, the press agent, who is a former Styleforum and Superfuture member who followed the call of dope jawnz to Tokyo, where he ended up working for Julius. The best part about the store is that we were all, all of us, big nerds. According to Josh, so is the whole staff. Horikawa-san's desk is - apparently - decorated with goods including Evangelion figurines, and most of what they wanted to talk about was food. Our kind of people, then.
I've let myself become excited for the upcoming season, entitled "Sefiroth" (FUCK YES) (Josh's words: "Dat name tho"), which we were told will combine religious elements with African inspirations - and a gradual move away from the geometric designs. I've always thought of Julius as being a very cosmopolitan brand, and it sounds as though Horikawa's influences span the gamut from manga and anime, to noise rock, religions both western and eastern, and of course, science fiction. Julius has always been wary of positioning itself as a Japanese brand, at least on its sleeve. And I suppose it's hard to be anything other than international when you show in Paris. However, Eastern influences are certainly evident in the design, and Julius as a brand seems as though it could have come from nowhere but Tokyo. Walking home past the neon signs of Shibuya and Shinjuku, it's not hard to imagine the clothing fading into the blackness between the flashing lights in the most perfect way. I imagine motorcycle couriers lounging outside seedy sex shops, dealing in outdated technology and illegal software, listening to dubstep and industrial rock. It's...cool. They probably have swords, too.
We took photos of the store, and then we had the brilliant idea to try on some rad clothes and try our best to look cool. Alex opted for "Space Priest," I, of course, went for "Rogue Smuggler." The results were spectacular. I know you're not supposed to say this kind of shit, but I looked and felt so fucking cool in this stuff I didn't even know what to think. Alex likewise looked like some sort of Guild Acolyte, eyes bulging from Spice. I had enough space in my pockets to carry a billion credits' worth of the stuff through any blockade, he was ready for The Ritual. I'd say the pictures below do a good job showcasing the two sides of the brand. Hard grunge on one side, tailoring on the other - and the contrast between the sharp blazer and the flowing pants and slip-on shoes was too good. All that was missing was a spaceship. We tried to take some pictures inside the store, but the lighting was tough. So...they suggested we go outside? On what planet does that happen? Anyway, then we spent fifteen minutes posing in the street in the baddest gear this side of Ganymede. I'll let you judge for yourselves.
Need to get to the outer rim, quiet-like? I'm your man.
The Servants of the Mistress are well-dressed in this sector.
The rag-tag crew. This is post-crisis, after we've bonded over our differences and vowed to take down the Empire. Together.
The best part of the whole experience was the reminder that, above all, this stuff is fun. Clothes are cool. They make you have Big Thoughts and Cool Dreams. They transform you into people you want to be or might have been (if it were the year 3000). They're a reminder that life is short, and that we might as well have a good time. We left with smiles on our faces, and I'm not sure you can ask for anything more than that. Thanks are due, of course, to the incredibly accommodating staff - it seemed like everyone had a good time, so hopefully it wasn't just us. I left a true believer, though - or at least, I would be if I lived in Tokyo. I am not sure how Julius would fly in my daily life of hiking, fishing and dog-walking. But perhaps I'll give it a shot.
Then we got donuts.
And I took some pictures of this shiba.
Goodnight, Tokyo. See you for sushi tomorrow morning at the fish markets!