The Powerhouse Museum curated the exhibition FRUiTS: Tokyo street style – photographs by Shoichi Aoki, showcasing a vibrant and engaging collection of photographs taken in Tokyo between 1997 and 2002. The images capture a radical Japanese fashion subculture that has inspired fashion designers worldwide.
This is the first major exhibition for Japanese photographer Shoichi Aoki.
Shoichi Aoki began documenting street fashion in Tokyo’s fashionable Harajuku area in the mid 1990s when he noticed a marked change in the way young people were dressing. Rather than following European and American trends, people were customising elements of traditional Japanese dress – kimono, obi sashes and geta sandals – and combining them with handmade, secondhand and alternative designer fashion in an innovative ‘DIY’ approach to dressing.
In 1997 Shoichi Aoki established the monthly magazine FRUiTS, now a cult fanzine with an international following, to record and celebrate the freshness of fashion in Harajuku. All photographs in the exhibition were originally published in FRUiTS.
Some of the many styles seen in FRUiTS include punk, cyber and decora, in which simple garments are accessorised with toys and plastic jewellery that clink together to add an aural dimension to dress. Clothing inspired by cartoon characters like Sailor Moon are also popular. In the last couple of years ‘elegant gothic Lolitas’ have had a strong presence in Japan. This style takes Harajuku’s doll-like ‘Lolita’ look into a harder world of black lace crinolines, corsets and bat-shaped handbags.
In addition to individually devised and handmade outfits, each ‘look’ has its own avant-garde designers and brands. Outfits and accessories by Baby the stars shine bright, Takuya Angel, 20471120, Ohya and Christopher Nemeth will be exhibited alongside colourful ‘DIY’ garb sourced by Shoichi Aoki direct from the pages of FRUiTS.
Featuring more than 70 of Shoichi Aoki’s portraits and a selection of extraordinary clothing, FRUiTS: Tokyo street style celebrates the spirit of Harajuku and documents an inspirational moment in Japanese fashion and popular culture.
The Powerhouse Museum held a competition where entrants were asked to create a new and exciting fashion ensemble based on a recent personal obsession, using a variety of textiles and costumes along with funky, fashionable and avant garde styles, materials and construction methods, photograph it in a streetscape and submit the entry to the Powerhouse Museum.
The best entry won $1000, and their work displayed at the Powerhouse Museum.