As a Kyoto local and fashion lover, people often ask me about Kyoto streetwear.
The growing interest has seen brands from all over the world trying to capitalize on demand.
Yet, the legitimacy of these brands is so debatable that social media is on fire right now.
Reddit, Quora, Facebook reviews, all debate genuine vs fake Kyoto streetwear brands.
In this article, I’m going to share with you how Kyoto streetwear is constructed and where to buy genuine Kyoto streetwear fashion from.
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What Is Kyoto Streetwear Style?
When thinking about Japanese fashion, Tokyo and the Harajuku region, in particular, come to mind.
After Tokyo, streetwear lovers find Kyoto’s ‘Samurai’ street style very trendy right now.
Kyoto’s ‘Samurai streetwear styles’ are inspired by two key elements:
- Kyoto city’s ancient architecture.
- Japan’s rich heritage in fashion making.
Kyoto City Influence
Located in the heart of Honshu, Kyoto is regarded as Japan’s most beautiful ancient city.
With over 4,000 historical monuments, temples, and shrines, Kyoto city is also the most popular tourist destination in Japan.
The city attracts millions of visitors from both inside and outside of Japan, all year round.
Kyoto’s richness of temples, shrines, and cultural references are an abundant source of Wabi-Sabi inspiration.
Wabi-sabi is an aesthetic principle-centered around the idea of transience and imperfection, as vital components of beauty.
The concept has been used by some of the most famous Japanese fashion designers, such as Yohji Yamamoto, Issei Miyake, and Rei Kawakubo.
Japanese Fashion – Culture & Heritage
From sophisticated designer garments to upcycled couture, trendy boutiques, and department stores, Japan has it all.
It is this rare combination of tradition and modernity that makes Japanese streetwear styles so much loved and desired.
Here are the most prominent Japanese fashion-making themes, also found in streetwear styles:
- Oversized Silhouettes
- Bright colors
- Tabi style shoes
Contrary to Occidental fashion trends, constructed by celebrities and fast fashion giants, Japanese creations rely on street culture:
“in Japan, the most popular fashion models are just normal shoppers; normal people wearing unique styles on the streets of Tokyo”
said Parco’s President, Kozo Makiyama.
Parco is one of the first chains of department stores in Japan to realize the power of streetwear styles.
The influence is so palpable that when it opened its store in Shibuya, Parco used a relevant slogan:
“The people you’re passing are all so beautiful“
In other words, the streets of Japan are real catwalks and people are fashion stars.
Best Stores for Legit Kyoto Streetwear
When it comes to Japanese fashion, trusting online sellers is a serious problem.
Based on my research and experience, most Kyoto streetwear brands selling online are copycats located in China, Bangladesh, and India.
- The best place to buy genuine Kyoto streetwear is Kyoto’s local stores!
Buy genuine Kyoto streetwear directly from the city’s stores, while having a full Japanese experience.
This way, you’ll ‘hit two birds with one stone.’
Kyoto city is one of the most amazing historical and cultural destinations, for travelers from all over the world.
So it is worth booking a ‘city-trip / shopping spree’ at the same time.
While in Kyoto, look for the Fujii Daimaru department store.
Also, visit the small designer boutiques located around the city center as these are the best places to find rare Japanese streetwear pieces.
Moreover, some of these local streetwear collections will never go online.
So, if you’re after unique Japanese streetwear pieces, physical stores in Kyoto are the best, rather than online.
However, not everybody has the luxury to travel only to buy fashion.
If that’s your case, I’m here to help, and below I have compiled my favorite online Kyoto streetwear stores.
Kyoto Streetwear – Best 7 Online Shops in 2021-2022
I recommend you try these 7 online shops.
All are selling genuine Kyoto streetwear, and I’ve tried them myself:
- Sou Sou Kyoto
- Urban Research Online Store
- Japan Lover Me
Now it’s your turn…
What is your favorite Japanese fashion style?
Which Kyoto streetwear online shops do you recommend?
Is there any other Japanese street fashion style you want us to cover?
Would love to hear your thought and comments below!