Cult technical sportswear label Stone Island opened its flagship store in Aoyama, Tokyo’s most prestigious shopping district. Located in a back alley, as many of Tokyo’s best stores do, and around the corner from the main COMME des GARÇONS store, and a stone's throw away from the likes of UNDERCOVER, sacai, and Thom Browne.
The Stone Island shop is symbolic of the brand’s continuing expansion. With its newfound popularity among the hip-hop set and its followers, the brand is flying high; in the last Business of Fashion / Lyst online shopping search survey Stone Island—despite pointedly standing aside from the fashion pack and being a men’s only label—came in as the fifth most-searched brand, beating out the likes of Givenchy, Moncler, and Valentino.
The two-story shop was designed by Marc Buhre and is housed in the typical Tadao Ando-style Japanese concrete box, which perfectly suits Stone Island’s utilitarian esthetic. Inside, light stone, black metal, and blond wood is accented by yellow felt. If you go, don’t miss the refrigerator on the second floor that contains the brand’s famous Ice Jacket with thermo-sensitive coating. In addition to the full Stone Island offerings, there is also a rack with the experimental Shadow Project, designed by Acronym’s Errolson Hugh, and which is celebrating its ten-year anniversary.
Hugh was on site at the opening party, as well as Carlo Rivetti, the label’s owner, and a large number from the family-run company’s staff, especially flown in for the event from Italy. Rivetti happily mingled with the Japanese fashion media and retail heavyweights that packed the store to the gills. Marcelo Burlon, who had his own event the night before, rolled through as well.
The London DJ Benji B spun a hip-hop-heavy set at the afterparty at a nearby basement club. Benji has collaborated closely with Phoebe Philo at Celine, but you probably know him from his close relationship with Virgil Abloh. This was followed by a performance by the French-born London rapper Octavian, who showed up decked out from head-to-toe in Stone Island’s Tiger Camouflage.
Stone Island’s relationship with Japan is a long one, Rivetti told us over a quick dinner between the store opening and the after party. The brand entered the market as early as 1983-84, a year or two after its inception, the Japanese keeping true to their reputation as fashion trailblazers. And though the country remains a relatively small segment of Stone Island’s overall sales, it has outsize influence in Asia, being that South Korea and China often look to Japan for stylistic clues. Indeed, the store’s staff had to politely shoo away potential customers throughout the day while they were preparing for the evening’s launch. We imagine many of them will be coming back today.
Take a closer look at Stone Island's Tokyo flagship in the gallery above, and make your to pay them a visit at Minami Ayoama 5-5-4, Minato-ku Tokyo 107 0062.
For more on Stone Island, there new thermo-reactive jacket is an instant grail.