Japan’s heady metropolis is home to Korean-American fashion designer Yoon Ahn, of cult label Ambush, who has collaborated with Shu Uemura on a limited-edition make-up collection for spring 2017. Here, she recommends some very cool pieces of Tokyo to take home with you. Compiled by Alison Boleyn.
Kapital started as a jeans label out of Okayama Prefecture in the 1980s before morphing into an Ebisu store and fashion line that stitches Americana with Japan’s boro (mended and patched) aesthetic. “Everything combines to form this really weird, almost mythological type of clothing brand,” says Yoon.
Ceramics and glass
“If your Japanese adventure stops in Tokyo,” says Yoon, call in to Crafts and Permaculture Country Mall for a curated mix of craft items from across the country. CPCM is huge, has a market feel and sells vintage and contemporary wares.
Yoon appreciates Japan’s artisan history but also likes Don Quijote in Shibuya, a whacky 24-hour chain store where “you can find all the pop culture items that your friends and family back home never even realised they needed”.
Vintage band tees
Tokyo is studded with preloved fashion stores. Yoon’s favourite spot to pick up vintage band T-shirts is BerBerJin in the Harajuku district.
Sweets and snacks
“Don’t settle for the boxed confectionery at the airport,” says Yoon. Instead, Shinjuku department store Isetan has a wide and artistic selection of Japanese gift foods such as sugared apricots, blueberry almonds and apple-smoked shrimp crackers. There’s also a rooftop picnic area, which means your bounty may never make it to the airport. ￼
Japanese coffee-table books
Yoon’s favourite place for “late-night research or relaxation” is Daikanyama Tsutaya Books. The three-pavilion palace is packed with the printed stuff of designer dreams. Yoon looks for works by master Japanese photographers as well as younger talents.
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