5 Shibuya109 Stores to Shop the Latest J-Fashion Trends
If your interest in Japan has anything to do with fashion and subcultures, you absolutely need to include a Shibuya109 shopping spree in your plans for when you’re in Tokyo. I won’t be redundant and start explaining why this mall is a Mecca for any J-fashion enthusiast, as I’m pretty sure you already know that. I am here to help you navigate Shibuya109 without wasting a whole afternoon on it – as there are over 50 stores in the entire building.
Side note: The stores in Shibuya109 are targeted towards a very specific niche – young, fashionable Japanese women in their 20s. Most of the brands sell very feminine and dainty clothes and accessories, so don’t go in expecting wacky or extravagant fashion. That’s Harajuku for you. Also, don’t expect to find super high-end brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton in Shibuya109 – those are mostly located in departments stores.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the top five Shibuya109 stores that do best in reflecting the latest J-fashion trends.
1. Ank Rouge (6F)
I find Ank Rouge to be one of the most representative Shibuya fashion brands. It started off in 2010 and has had its fair share of gyaru-esque, ruffles-and-laces-type collections. However, Ank Rouge’s style has shifted quite a bit in the last few years, and now their clothes are a mix of soft punk, Japanese street style, and neo-gyaru influences. Top that off with gorgeous textures and color palettes, which make each collection a delight to coordinate, as well their own in-house line of shoes and accessories, and you’ve got yourself an awesome brand to shop the latest J-fashion trends all in one place.
2. WEGO (8F)
I’ve heard someone refer to WEGO as the Japanese H&M – and while I kind of hate to admit it, it’s almost right. WEGO is mostly a fast fashion store that sells the latest J-fashion trends for super affordable prices. Their latest hits were the clear window bags – you know, the kind where you put all your otaku paraphernalia when you want to show your dedication to the whole world. And why waste $75 on one from Ank Rouge when you can get three of them in different colors from WEGO, just one floor higher?
3. CECIL McBEE (2F)
Although I am not a fan of CECIL McBEE, it deserves its place as one of the most popular Shibuya109 brands. Their style is much tamer and more classic compared to the likes of Ank Rouge and Liz Lisa, but I can’t deny that they do keep a finger of the latest trends in J-fashion, to the extent their style allows them to. CECIL McBEE sells a ton of monochrome pieces that are easy to mix and match, and like to play with classic texture combinations – such as tweed and velvet for fall-winter. What I really recommend this brand for is their bags – you can find very stylish and expensive-looking purses, totes, and wallets for under $50.
4. Liz Lisa (6F)
Of course, I couldn’t not include Liz Lisa in this list, as it is probably the soundest name among the Shibuya109 brands. Although their style is very niche, Liza Lisa is extremely popular with both Japanese and foreign customers, mostly because it’s unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. Imagine in-house shabby-chic patterns (which some would classify as upholstery motifs), combine that with dainty feminine silhouettes, and top it off with a healthy dose of bloomers, ruffles, and lace, and you have Liz Lisa! Now, the brand does reflect the current trends in gyaru, otome, and whatnot, but it might be harder to tell if you’re not into these subcultures.
5. Bubbles (7F)
While WEGO might be the ‘Japanese H&M,' Bubbles is more of a ‘Japanese Urban Outfitters.' In other words, it’s a bit more expensive, but still not up there with Ank Rouge and Liz Lisa, and caters to young women looking for the latest trends in both cutesy and edgy fashion. They’ve got their share of gingham picnic dresses and Peter Pan collars, but don’t shy away from huge platform shoes or animal prints either. If you’re like me, and you have two fashion personalities – one dark and edgy and another one soft and feminine, Bubbles is the place for you.
These were the five most representative J-fashion brands you can find in Shibuya109 that cover a variety of styles – from cutesy gyaru fashion to chic and elegant. And if you still don’t know how to get there, have some directions:
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Photos found on their website.