Tokyo Fashion Buildings

Shopping malls with fashion sense
01 October 2007
An introduction to the most famous fashion buildings in Tokyo and some of the newer examples.
The Japanese fashion market has a long history of being led by leading-edge shopping complexes called "fashion buildings." These buildings target the young in particular, and until recently, often became the locus for new trends and rising stars. This piece introduces readers to the most famous fashion buildings in Tokyo and some of the newer examples.


First established: 1969 (Ikebukuro), 1973 (Shibuya)
Corporate Group: Seibu Department Store / Saison Group


Current Locations:Ikebukuro (PARCO + P'PARCO), Shibuya (PARCO, PARCO Pt. 2, PARCO Pt. 3, PARCO Quattro, Zero Gate), Osaka's Shinsaibashi (PARCO + PARCO Pt. 2), Sapporo (PARCO + PARCO New Building), Chiba, Kichijoji, Oita in Kyushu, Tsudanuma, Shin-Tokorozawa, Matsumoto, Kumamoto, Chofu, Nagoya (PARCO + PARCO South Building), NOS VOS (in Nerima). Hibarigaoka, Hiroshima (PARCO + PARCO New Building), Ohtsu, Utsunomi, Shizuoka, Atsugi, Urawa, Sendai (to open in Fall 2008)

Key tenants in Shibuya flagship location: Miu Miu, Hysteric Glamour, Yab-Yum, Ylang Ylang

Style: Youth fashion. Slightly hip, but not too hip.

Importance: PARCO was not only the first fashion building in Japan, but a singular force in introducing avant-garde and foreign culture to Japanese youth from the 1970s on. Until the burst of the bubble in the early 1990s, PARCO was always a style leader on the forefront of sophistication. In terms of retail, PARCO spearheaded the idea of facility profit through charging tenant rent rather than selling actual products.

Now with 21 locations, PARCO has become a ubiquitous facility all across Japan's major urban areas. The company has generally lost its aesthetic edge and no longer makes much of a huge influence on anyone, but they are still a reliable fashion retailer. Rather than luxury brands, PARCO mostly targets fashion-forward students willing to spend a bit more on their clothes than the average kid.

(Seibu has moved more of their high-fashion goods like Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs to the Movida location nextdoor to PARCO, run by Onward Kashiyama's Via bus Stop.)

The non-Shibuya PARCO locations sometimes sport less exclusive brands, but the vibe stays relatively consistent throughout the franchise. Shibuya and Ikebukuro still are central to the image, but Nagoya apparently brings in the largest revenues.  
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