FRUiTS: a look-back at the greatest Japanese street style hits

Chris Tordoff, ​​founder of @fruits_magazine_archives, handpicks the freshest images from the cult mag exclusively for THE FACE, in honour of our cover star, Beabadoobee, who was photographed by FRUiTS founder Shoichi Aoki.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we at THE FACE are FRUiTS mad. Started in 1997 by fashion photographer Shoichi Aoki, the underground magazine’s format saw him take to the streets of Tokyo’s Harajuku district, snap its hippest residents repping Decora, Lolita and the like, and publish them full-bleed with a short profile. In February 2017, Aoki canned the mag with a frankly – and we use this term only on special occasions – iconic quip: There are no more cool kids to photograph”. Since then, it’s been on hiatus.

Until now, when Aoki flew from Tokyo to London to shoot our latest cover star and FRUiTS fan, Beabadoobee. Although the magazine hasn’t officially returned, word on the street is that FRUiTS could be well underway for a big technicoloured comeback – and we’re feeling all sorts of giddy.

We spoke to Aoki to celebrate the magazine’s 25-year anniversary, as well as Chris Tordoff, a Manga editor and FRUiTS enthusiast who runs the archival Instagram account, @fruits_magazine-archives, to get the scoop. You can read all about it here.

And to raise a toast to the mag’s anniversary, comeback and our new cover, we also asked Tordoff to select his favourite images from the publication’s decades-long archive. Think of it as the ultimate FRUiTS salad, a perfect preserve, or, err, an uncut jahm? That’s enough, here they are…

Issue: 40, 23/09/2000

As an obsessive of British 70s punk, this image seems to cross language and cultural borders. The attitude of the subjects is instantly understood and perfectly encapsulates that rebellious spirit [that’s] at odds with the strict rules of Japanese society. This attitude has always been at the beating heart of Harajuku. It also features items from the Harajuku brand SEX POT, a legendary presence in the area even today.”

Issue: 31, 23/12/1999

This image oozes style, both in content and composition. There’s no other way of putting it, the subjects are the epitome of cool. It feels like a combination of the perfection of the 60s, coupled with an arrogant dose of late-’80s, early-’90s Manchester.”

Issue: 41, 23/10/2000

This image beautifully depicts the roots of Decora. Not just the visually arresting ensembles, but the very real community aspect of this colourful and accessory-obsessed Harajuku subculture.”

Issue: 20, 23/01/1999

Harajuku would not have become an epicentre of street fashion without the influence of Vivienne Westwood. Her designs basically dragged Harajuku out of the fashion mire of the late-’80s and kicked off a creative frenzy of ideas that evolved into the delectable chaos that fascinates generations today. From Seditionaries on the Kings Road to Takeshita Street… genuinely a case of lightning striking twice!”

Issue: 35, 23/04/2000

I’m constantly baffled by the Lolita subculture. Taking fashion notes from Victorian England and creating a mindset that fits could only have been thought up in Harajuku.”

Issue: 25, 23/06/1999

This is very much my era. Though never a follower of the cyberpunk subculture, I very much saw it blossom in Camden in the early-’00s. It brought back fond memories of staggering around outside the Electric Ballroom waiting for the first morning Tube, kebab in hand. The subjects have jumped feet-first into this style and are enjoying every second of it! A beautiful representation of a time full of hope, happiness and hedonism.”

Issue: 28, 23/09/1999

A very Japanese activity is to latch onto a fad and exhaust it to within an inch of its life! This inexplicably happened to the Pink Panther in the late 90s.”

Issue: 41, 23/10/2000

This image beautifully depicts the roots of Decora. Not just the visually arresting ensembles, but the very real community aspect of this colourful and accessory-obsessed Harajuku subculture.”

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