japanese streets is one of kjeld duits‘ projects. he is a dutch photojournalist who has been living in japan ever since 1982. his work, covering serious matters such as natural disasters and their aftermath, is published by many publications world wide. last year, he started meijishowa, a photo stock agency for old japanese photography. but i came across his work with japanese streets, the first english-language street style blog covering the mind blowing style climax that is the nippon street.

japanese streets

no trend is missing: from the wooden-soled horse shoes to the gothic lolitas and the “gyarus” or the eternal obsession with all things vivienne westwood, the maid look or the futuristic outfits, it’s all there, in thousands of variations and combinations. if you’re trying to get a taste of the cool happenings of the japanese capital, check the afferent blog.

kjeld kindly answered a few questions for lilaesthete:

how did you decide to start the blog?

In the mid 90s, japanese street fashion was exploding with creativity. i was wondering how i could show this to the world. although i was a journalist and photographer, few mainstream media showed interest unless it was introduced under the “weird japan” angle. by the end of the 90s, the internet was developing really quickly and i saw an opportunity to use this medium. by 2002, i was ready and started my site. incidentally, this was long before the word “fashion blog” was known.

how often do you take street style pictures?

several times a week.

your blog is incredible! is this your day job or your hobby?

this is my life. but, as a journalist, i also cover mainstream news, especially large earthquakes (my second specialty) and i run a company licensing photos of japan of about a century ago. in between, i try to eat and sleep a little, too.

did you notice a change in tokyo fashion since the earthquake?

no, not on the street really. it was a bit subdued right after the quake, i heard. but i was in the disaster area within 24 hours after the quake struck and stayed there for the next six weeks, so i was unable to observe that myself.

however, the fashion shows for the spring-summer 2012 season last october were very optimistic and cheerful. designers clearly tried hard to produce positive energy in these trying times. many mentioned the catastrophe as one of their main inspirations this year.

what are the best places to watch tokyo’s street fashion?

tokyo has many different areas that each have their own character. harajuku is for young creative people who really push the boundaries of fashion. aoyama is for high fashion; this is also where many of the big established brands have their shops. in shibuya, you see the so called “gyaru” fashion, less creative with a stronger focus on looking sexy and girlish. daikanyama is for people who “graduated” from harajuku. there is less unbound creativity and it is a bit more sophisticated. ginza is especially for people in their 30s and 40s, as well as older. each area offers something different.

do people refuse you sometime when you want to take their picture for the blog?

very rarely. in that case, they are usually shy or in a hurry.

what are your favourite japanese fashion brands?

i love takuya angel, but this brand will be discontinued shortly.  other barnds i like: banal chic bizarre, junya tashiro, somarta, in-process by hall ohara, fur fur, motonari ono, keita maruyama and nozomi ishiguro.

what are your favourite hang out places?

without question, harajuku. i just love to walk the backstreets here. they are filled with interesting shops and you always run into someone with a unique look.

what are the criteria for the shots that make it on the blog?

i am not looking for a particular style, i actually cover everything from lolita fashion to straight harajuku styles to fashion shows of established brands, but i do look for some kind of an edge, a strong presence and personality in both the clothing and the people that I shoot. i also try hard to keep the quality of the photography itself high.

whose style do you admire?

there are too many to mention, but I never get bored of shooting: kumamikigonyukanaotomatsurianzu (she has become my assistant now), yama and iccho.

what are your other interests beside street style?

i love collecting photos of japan between the 1860s and 1930s and have made that my third business (after journalism and fashion).

how do you see the future of the blog?

i would like to broaden the styles that we (i work with assistants) cover beyond harajuku.


photo credits: japanese streets