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Kōenji’s Kitakore Building (360° Panorama)
A Kaleidoscope of Fashion in West Tokyo

Somese Naoto (Photographer)[Profile]

A strangely colored structure originally built before World War II, Kōenji’s Kitakore Building enjoys tremendous support from young fashionistas. We’ve captured it from every angle to show you everything from the remodeled vintage clothing worn by the global trendsetters who frequent it when they come to Tokyo to the quirky shop interiors.

Using the Immersive Panoramas

After hearing that musician and fashion icon Lady Gaga wears remodeled vintage clothing from fashion boutiques in a little building in Kōenji, I went to check the place out. I found myself overwhelmed by its striking presence.

The Kitakore Building is a two-story structure, most of which is more than 50 years old, that looks as if it could fall to pieces at any time. Indeed, the building shook so violently during the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 that some windows could no longer be opened. The shop owners “remodel” the vintage clothing or other items in their stock, putting their own stamp on them as entirely new creations. And their penchant for remodeling extends to the interior of the building itself.

Garter and Secret Dog, two of Lady Gaga’s hotspots, have simple, monotone-based interiors. But they also have a whimsical spirit expressed in the use of broken mirrors as accents and maze-patterned flooring. The building’s first apparel tenant, Hayatochiri, is quite eccentric, having its walls covered with pages torn from comic books. Housed in a remodeled residential bathing area, Ilil is jam-packed with mysterious objects, while Southpaw, located on the second floor and reached via an outdoor stairway, has a psychedelic interior designed to represent the right side of the brain. The strong personality of each shop is expressed in its unique interior design as well as in the clothing it sells.

Nowadays the number of independently owned and operated shops is declining as the number of major fashion outlets in Shinjuku and Shibuya continues to rise. Local shops that can remain active while keeping their focus on individuality, like those in the Kitakore Building, are a key driving force of fashion innovation in Japan. Get a sense of the possibilities for the future of Japanese fashion with this immersive, panoramic photo tour.

▼Find more details on the building here

Kōenji’s Kitakore Building

  • [2012.04.12]

Photographer. Born in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1964. Graduated from the Department of Photography in the College of Art, Nihon University. Specializes in portrait photography. His portfolio includes work for numerous magazines as well as several photograph collections. Currently an enthusiast of 360° panorama photography.


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