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Meet Banal Chic Bizarre

Banal Chic Bizarre

Last year, I interviewed Shun Nakagawa and Ayano Ichige of Tokyo label Banal Chic Bizarre. We sat down at the café situated below their store in Harajuku.

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Banal Chic Bizarre is a small street fashion brand based in Tokyo’s Harajuku.

How would you describe your label?

- The brand can be described as part of Tokyo street fashion.

Is your location in Harajuku connected to your philosophy?

- Our clothes wouldn’t really be accepted outside of Harajuku.

How long have you been in the Harajuku store?

- 4 years.

You have a store in Osaka too, don’t you?

- Yes, it started in February (2009). It’s getting better and better but it’s a very small store.

Is BCB a Tokyo brand or can it be applied to other places in the world?

- It can be considered a Tokyo brand, but also connected to more local areas.

Who is your ideal customer?

- People who are interested in Harajuku fashion, especially if they have their own philosophy about what they wear. The staff in the store have their own ideas about fashion.

How did BCB start?

- 7 years ago we met, and I asked her to start a brand — when we were 19 years old. Remade clothes are very hot in Tokyo. We remade clothes that we had in our house. What we had wasn’t learned in school, but by ourselves.

Where does the name come from?

- We had a very thick fashion dictionary in school and we chose three random words: Banal, Chic and Bizarre.

Banal Chic Bizarre

Where do you make your clothes?

- The clothes are always made in Japan, but the backpacks are made in Bali and the shoes in China.

Is it important to be a “made in Japan” brand?

- Communication is very important, because we have to go to the factory and communicate with the workers.

What is the inspiration behind BCB?

- From city life. I design as one of the customers. I always wear BCB.

Has the economic situation had any effect on you as a smaller Japanese label?

- Well, we don’t always focus solely on our brand. We do advertising and make magazines and in the magazines we advertise other smaller brands. Directly we are OK, but in more local areas the situation seems tough.

Where do BCB sell, apart from your own stores in Harajuku and Osaka?

- Two other shops in Japan.

What other Japanese brands do you like?

- Our customers wear our clothes and the clothes of Nozomi Ishiguro and Anrealage.

Is BCB a unisex brand?

- Yes, that’s true. But I dont like the term unisex. Maybe “over sex” or “all the sexes” is better.

Why?

- I (Nakagawa) usually buy skirts and I want my customers to be free, not stick to gender streotypes. Dont stick to mens and womens, just be free

Do you think that concept is the future of fashion?

- I dont know.

Banal Chic Bizarre

What are your plans for the future?

- I don’t have any direct plans for the future, but we want to grow as a brand and we have a clear vision to grow. Getting over now leads to the future.

Can BCB ever be sold overseas?

- I think maybe in the UK, especially London. But I don’t know much about what’s going on overseas. However, we do have an ambition to sell abroad.

Do many foreigners come to the store in Tokyo?

- Not so many, but BCB seems to be popular in Sweden; a Swedish TV crew came here recently.

Does BCB feel any affinity to legendary Japanese brands like Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto?

- No, I don’t think so. Maybe we are a new generation with new ideas. We don’t care so much about history. We don’t care what people did in the past.

What do you think of Japanese fashion nowadays?

- Bizarre.

Collaborations are very popular. Would you ever collaborate with someone?

- On the latest collection we collaborated with Blonde Cigarette on the big backpacks. With the hats and caps we worked with Mifune. It was really fun.

Search the JS Photo-Archive for Banal Chic Bizarre

This is an edited version of an article previously published on my blog.

Paul McInnes About the Author

Paul McInnes is a fashion and arts journalist based in Tokyo. He is the menswear fashion editor of The Japan Times, the Tokyo editor of Sportswear International, contributes to High Fashion, Dazed Digital, and JC Report.

Recent articles by Paul McInnes:

Comment (日本語もOK)

Great interview, Paul. Thanks. Glad that we have some photos of people wearing Banal Chic Bizarre in our Photo-Archive.

Kjeld Duits
Feb 20, 2010 (3433 days ago)

Dear Sir,
With the recently successful launch of Chili into South East Asia, M4E is looking for an enthusiastic company to represent and distribute our fashion lines ofsilk scarf, vast selection of Tees, hooded, sweaters, skirt, dresses, ponchos,jumpsuits and leggings.
M4Eis a new high uniquely funky fashion brand with trademark characters and graffiti styled designs.
If you would like to represent and distribute any of our fashionproducts, please send your inquires to micky@mosa4ever.com
We look forward to your reply and thank you for your time.
BestRegards,
MickyMo

MICKY
Feb 22, 2012 (2701 days ago)

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