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TOKYO: Key Openings Advocate An Active Urban Lifestyle

Recent openings from two of Japan’s major fashion groups aim to promote more active lifestyles while easing congestion in ever-crowded Tokyo.En Route, in the city’s upscale Ginza district, is the debut of a new concept store from United Arrows that alongside a strong selection of activewear offers visitors running-focused services that are unique at this level of trend-driven sophistication. In an airily expansive two-storey space, designed by local practice Schemata Architects to combine 21st century sleekness with elements of a work-in-progress construction site, a “Running Station” provides maps detailing the best routes through the metropolis alongside (paid-for) locker-equipped changing rooms and even shower facilities.

Merchandise too, much of it hanging upon industrial piping, is of a kind that posits running not as after-work escapism but instead as a viable means of commuting in one of the world’s most densely populated cities. Full-on high-performance activewear from the likes of Nike and Descente is complemented by smarter urban casualwear (from Yoshio Kubo, new women’s label Ponti and the store’s in-house ENR line) designed to withstand commutes more strenuous than that of the typical day jobber.

Over at the Harajuku/Omotesando end of Meiji-dori Avenue meanwhile, the Portland Oregon-themed Niko And… concept store from Point Inc. (the company behind a roster of youth-oriented domestic labels including Hare, Lowry’s Farm and Jeanasis) is offering bicycle rental to Tokyo-ites and visitors alike at the reasonable rate of ¥1,000 (£5.50GBP) for three hours. The fleet of stylish cross bike-style rides, finished in a neat grey with brown leather saddles and grips and entirely made by Japanese artisans, also provides a means of mobile advertising for the store by way of prominent Niko And… branding.

Darren Gore

En Route

1F, 3-10-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku / 81 (0)3 3541 9020

Niko And…

6-12-20 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku / 81 (0)3 5778 3304

Images 1, 8, 9 from urashibuya.com

Image 2 from gbrc.tokyo

Images 3-6 from designboom.com

Image 7 from spoon-tamago.com 

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