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THE TOKYO AESTHETIC: DISPATCHES FROM THE STREETS OF FASHION WEEK



By Jean-Guillaume Bastin



Sakura and Naka mixing prints in Harajuku Sakura and Naka mixing prints in Harajuku



I first visited Japan in 2014 and was stunned by the eclectic streetwear. Between takoyakis or taiyakis, I roamed the streets and covered the fashion weeks at the end of October. I decided to move to Japan in 2016 to capture the fashionable spirit of the young, incredibly interesting individuals who treated the pavement like a runway. While I returned to Montreal after my year-long visa expired, the trip made a lasting impression on me, as well as my photographic style.

I went back in 2019 to work on a personal project and couldn’t help but sync up my trip with October Fashion Week. Now, as this year’s (digital) Fashion Week has come and gone, I can’t help but reminisce about the ultra-cool people I met there and the personal styles that continue to inspire me.

One of my biggest takeaways from past trips is that Japanese thrift culture is on another level entirely. I love thrifting in Tokyo. You can find old “grails” and amazing vintage finds. Plus, it’s more sustainable. Areas like Shimokitazawa are full of vintage stores: military and pre ‘80s designers. Koenji for punk and metal. Shibuya or Shinjuku offer more recent designers. That’s why the streets are a mix of luxury items and well-worn vintage. I’ve seen jeans resown as a coat, denim over double-breasted jackets, and expertly-mixed patterns that Japanese designers - like Sacai, Comme des Garcons, and Needles - have mastered.

Here are a few pictures of the young trailblazers I met: from students and actors to art directors and hairstylists. You can find any style in Tokyo. And that’s why it's a must-visit city for anyone who appreciates fashion.




Group of young Japanese enjoying the fashion week in ShibuyaGroup of young Japanese enjoying the fashion week in Shibuya


Yuka Manami, a Japanese model with a vintage Prada bag in Omotesando
Yuka Manami, a Japanese model with a vintage Prada bag in Omotesando
Shota having fun in Harajuku
Shota having fun in Harajuku
Sakura and Naka mixing prints in Harajuku
Sakura and Naka mixing prints in Harajuku


Nanami wearing a vintage leather jacket in  Shibuya
Nanami wearing a vintage leather jacket in Shibuya
Erino wearing a DIY leather jacket and striped pants in Shibuya
Erino wearing a DIY leather jacket and striped pants in Shibuya
Erika wearing a double-breasted jacket and geometrical sunglasses in Shibuya
Erika wearing a double-breasted jacket and geometrical sunglasses in Shibuya


Yuna with a denim jacket over a suit jacket in Shibuya
Yuna with a denim jacket over a suit jacket in Shibuya



Sakura wearing a beautiful makeup in Omotesando
Sakura wearing a beautiful makeup in Omotesando
Young japanese girl daring colours and prints in Shibuya
Young japanese girl daring colours and prints in Shibuya
Akira with a vintage floral dress in Shibuya
Akira with a vintage floral dress in Shibuya



Toshio displaying his full body tattoo in Harajuku Toshio displaying his full body tattoo in Harajuku
Young Japanese with layers of down puffers in Shibuya
 Young Japanese with layers of down puffers in Shibuya



Ayumi, a Japanese model, in Omotesando
Ayumi, a Japanese model, in Omotesando
A duo of Japanese models in the streets of Harajuku
A duo of Japanese models in the streets of Harajuku
A young Japanese stylist with yellow-tinted glasses and PVC jacket in Omotesando
A young Japanese stylist with yellow-tinted glasses and PVC jacket in Omotesando



Momo wearing a blue pastel designer jacket in Shinjuku Momo wearing a blue pastel designer jacket in Shinjuku
Ayumu wearing an oversized vintage shirt over a hoodie in Shibuya
 Ayumu wearing an oversized vintage shirt over a hoodie in Shibuya



ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Jean-Guillaume Bastin is a photographer hailing from Montreal. He spent a year in Tokyo working on various photo projects and spent his leisure time in the streets taking spontaneous portraits of the youth. He’s also part of a creative duo called JG+SHI.








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