5 THINGS ABOUT NEIGHBORHOOD
Inspired by motorcycles and related countercultures, Shinsuke Takizawa founded NEIGHBORHOOD in 1994.
As a lifestyle brand, NEIGHBORHOOD reconstructs classic and modern elements
from their own unique perspective.
NEIGHBORHOOD would play a significant role in what is now known as the 'Ura-Harajuku' or 'Ura-Hara' movement and would reform the face of contemporary streetwear as we know it today.
What is ‘Ura-Harajuku’ refers to?
You've probably heard of "Ura-Harajuku" if you've ever spent an hour or two on a streetwear social media group.Ura-Harajuku, also known as Ura-Hara Tokyo, is a Shibuya, Tokyo, network of back alleys and less-traveled streets. Ura-Hara has its own distinct style, and it is where many big names in Japanese streetwear established themselves.
Ura-Harajuku has become shorthand for plenty of Japanese streetwear brands that contributed to the now-famous Tokyo streetwear aesthetic pioneered by brands such as NEIGHBORHOOD, BAPE, and UNDERCOVER, to name a few.
1. About NEIGHBORHOOD's founder- Shinsuke Takizawa
Shinsuke Takizawa was a Japanese designer born in Japan's Nagano Prefecture. Takizawa developed his interest in the fashion industry at a very young age. In the early 1980s, Takizawa was a participant in an exchange student program and was further inspired by London's punk rock subculture within that period.
As Takizawa return to Japan, he decided to begin his journey at fashion academy and moved to Tokyo to become a DJ and stylist. He then joined Major Force hip-hop record label, where he worked with them for 8 years and eventually became its director.
In 1994, Takizawa left Major Force and launched his own streetwear label, NEIGHBORHOOD, and later WTAPS designer, Tetsu Nishiyama, joined him as creative director.
Takizawa is now recognized as one of the most influential figures in modern contemporary streetwear as a pioneer of the Japanese Ura-Hara streetwear aesthetic.
2. What inspired Takizawa to launch the label?
In the early 1980s, a formative time for Tokyo's street scene, Takizawa has visited Harajuku. At that time, the influence of Western subcultures and artistic practices upon Tokyo's youth tribe is well-known.
It worth noting considering the uniquely Americana-infused aesthetic of brands that emerged from Ura-Harajuku towards the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s.
"The name Neighborhood was inspired by all of us hanging out in Harajuku. Artists were treated better in Omotesando and Aoyama back then. Since that was what we were used to, our common DIY culture naturally drew all of these subcultural styles together. At the moment, I had just had to worry about the present. For me, today's fashion is all about historicizing."
"I became interested in fashion because I wanted to do something creative with my hands. My hobbies are what inspire me." Says Takizawa during his interview, who runs both the business and design aspects of NEIGHBORHOOD, and also works with vintage motorcycles, running another company at that time.
3. How NEIGHBORHOOD stands out of Japan's
NEIGHBORHOOD was largely unknown outside of Japan at years back then, save for the coveted expertise of the occasional visitor and streetwear obsessive making their pilgrimage to Japan.
However, NEIGHBORHOOD started to gain their small status outside of Japan when people traveled to this country brought Japanese fashion magazines such as COOL Trans back from their travel and shared about it among their friends.
Today, NEIGHBORHOOD has been recognized as one of the Japan vanguard pioneer streetwear labels that come out with supreme quality, craftsmanship, and attention to details, making them distinguished from their Western counterparts.
It is doubtful for NEIGHBORHOOD to reach its current height without the social media attention it has gained since its establishment nearly twenty-five years ago
4. Journey to place NEIGHBORHOOD on the
International market map
Takizawa has greatly expanded his brand's presence over the years with an additional flagship store in Shibuya, shop-in-shop stores in Hankyu Men Department in Tokyo and Osaka, and HOODS-branded shops in Japan and overseas which including Hong Kong, Beijing as well as Seoul.
2007 was the year where NEIGHBORHOOD collaborated with one of the American brands, Supreme, for the first time, helping to solidify the brand's status as heavyweight in premium streetwear, which it has maintained ever since.
In 2009, Takizawa decided to expand the NEIGHBORHOOD brand by introducing its new sub-brand, LUKER, where its concept was inspired by British counter culture.
Since the turn of the millennium, there have been plenty of mainstream collaborations, crossover events, and sneaker releases that helped bring NEIGHBORHOOD into Western markets
5. The main difference between NEIGHBORHOOD and Western fashion
Unlike most Western huge streetwear culture that explores seasonal switching, NEIGHBORHOOD appears to work more in the movement of the switching era, exploring various cultural inspirations and reference points. In this, they are eager to play with multiple graphic touches and design methods.
Rather than treating style categories such as "military" as strict parameters, NEIGHBORHOOD has used the cultural landscape in which those categories are situated to allow purposeful exploration.
NEIGHBORHOOD is not just a brand rooted in rock and roll, punks, biker culture, outsiders, rebels, and dirtbags. It's the subcultural sublime's cultural imagination, crafted with pride.
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