As promised, here is the second installment of my Kita-Kore experience.

Next stop was Garter. At the facade, guests were greeted with some sort of an eerie art/fashion installation where garments and shoes were entirely covered with asphalt. The entire scene somehow reminded me of those sick cult horror flicks like Saw and Hostel. Of course, everything on display was for sale and apparently wearable in literal terms. I don't know if you can actually wear it in broad daylight except in Harajuki of course. Perhaps during Halloween it should be okay.

One can easily spend an entire afternoon perusing the building since there are so much cool stuff to see. Filled with over-the-top custom-made conceptual oddities suitable for Lady Gaga production numbers or Rio Carnival-themed ensembles, this one-of-a-kind shopping mecca seemed more like a contemporary art museum than a retail space to me. Located in the same building was another store called iLiL specializing on streetwear/sportswear D-I-Y novelty items. From the raddest Nike Air Force One-geta hybrid kicks to a Samurai-inspired fencing helmet, iLiL takes D-I-Y to a whole new level by translating out-of-this-world concepts into fashion with the right dose of wit and humor.

The secret is out now. If you want to get the attention of street style photographers next fashion week, then, book a flight to Tokyo ASAP! Don't forget to take daddy's black AMEX because all things Kita-Kore don't come cheap. Who knows you might just end up on Vogue.com!


One of the highlights of my Tokyo trip last year was my discovery of Kita-Kore. Located in the outskirts of central Tokyo, a ramshackle mini-mall housing a handful of obscure boutiques specializing on do-it-yourself fashion has been attracting D-I-Y aficionados from over the world including high-profile celebs such as Pharrell Williams and Lady Gaga for awhile now.

Searching for Kita-Kore was such an ordeal. Thanks to a kind Japanese gentleman in full-Kita-Kore gear I was able to spot the D-I-Y mecca. The good Samaritan turned out to be a boutique owner from Osaka who was doing a pop-up store situation in Tokyo over the weekend. He eagerly showed me his temporary space filled with random nick nacks, a covetable selection of 80s vintage clothing and footwear, some indie Japanese designers from Osaka and some really cool unreleased runway pieces from the likes of Jeremy Scott and Bernhard Willhelm.

Most stores open after lunch so I had to wait for a little bit. The first permanent boutique I visited was Hayatochiri. The store was insane in literal terms. The walls were completely covered with black and white comic strips. It was filled with wacky customized pieces suitable for literally shocking people. The kind of pieces that would cause traffic when you are crossing the street. I did spot a couple of items amongst the pile of stuff that I can actually pull-off. But I decided to pass on buying them after I saw the price tag. Yes, most pieces storewide don't come cheap! But that's understandable considering how much time spent creating something unique and different.

The paparazzi in me couldn't help from snapping away. Since I took so much pics I had to do a separate blog post for my Garter and iLiL experience. In the meantime, here's half of the craziness that is Kita-Kore! Stay tuned for the rest of my story about this D-I-Y heaven following right after this post!