Many foreigners are visiting Cat Street. Why? Cat Street in Harajuku is a birth place of various fashion trend.
After World War II, on the back of Meiji Shrine, there used to be residential area for US Air Force called Washington Heights. More than 2,000 people lived there.
Their families used to go around this area, back streets of Harajuku. Then, for the first 1964 Tokyo Olympic, Washington Heights were renovated to Olympic Athletes’ village and after that, it became Yoyogi Park. Furthermore, this area was specified as an academic district for schools, libraries and educational facilities, no amusement facilities like Pachinko Parlors. These backgrounds brought up creative and artistic atmosphere.
At Jingumae crossing, you can see a tall brown building called Tokyu Plaza Harajuku, where used to be Harajuku Central Apartment. This apartment was a birth place of Harajuku culture. Famous musicians, copywriters, magazine creators and fashion designers used to live there.
Also, fashion designers, Kansai Yamamoto, Junko Koshino, Comme de Garson’s designer Rei Kawakubo used to work in this area. I think that Japanese fashion designers have cultural uniqueness and sensitivity. After WWII, Japanese designers have selectively absorbing foreign cultural value, adapting these into existing indigenous patterns and re-creating their own cultural uniqueness. That’s why Japanese fashion designers are able to exhibit Paris collection every year.
In Harajuku, Cat Street is a must to visit. Despite its name, the trendiest street has nothing to do with cats. There used to be a ditch like a narrow stream from Harajuku to Shibuya. There were small shops along the ditch. Due to the first Tokyo Olympic, government covered the ditch and made a narrow street on it. Since then, this street has invited many customers.
In Cat Street, there are various kinds of shops and restaurants. Especially, Cat Street is famous for Vintage. Vintage clothes are more than just “old used clothes.” They are more popular than new unworn clothes.
Why do vintage clothes attract customers?
- By wearing Vintage, you can appeal uniqueness, you never find another person wearing the same outfit.”
- They have better quality than the current ones.
- Every vintage garment comes with a story, art and history.
June 2018, an English retired professional footballer, David Beckham, visited one of vintage shops, and an American singer, Lady Gaga, has several times visited one of funky shops in Cat Street.
Why do you think that famous celebrities come to purchase Japanese Vintage? Vintage products selling in Tokyo have good reputation because they are washed, ironed, neatly folded, which shows Japanese sensitivity. I think there is another reason. Shop owners have aesthetic sense to select unique vintage products. So, Japanese vintage products also have cultural uniqueness and sensitivity.
If you plan to visit Tokyo, it would be a great pleasure to guide you. I will explain about our fashion culture further. My tour website is https://triplelights.com/profile/3624
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