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Photography Shoichi Aoki

Harajuku style bible FRUiTS stops publishing after 20 years

The cult Japanese mag that’s been documenting Tokyo street style has printed its last issue, citing lack of ‘cool kids’ on the street

There are no more ‘cool kids’ in the streets of Harajuku. At least, that’s the reason cited by founder Shoichi Aoki as to why cult Japanese street style magazine FRUiTS has called it a day after 20 years of documenting the area’s most experimental fashion. 

Since the mid-90s, the publication has brought Japanese youth culture and style tribes to the masses, one carefully credited portrait at a time. Not just one of the first platforms to show the world kawaii, gothic lolita, and cyberpunk styles as the happened on the street (before they were hijacked by the likes of Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne), FRUiTS defined street style as we know it today. Now, no fashion week coverage is complete without those images, and the line between the street and high fashion is barely perceptible. 

But FRUiTS was always meant to be the antithesis to this kind of posturing, and Aoki’s decision to stop printing the issues seems based on this lack of authenticity: “There are no more fashionable kids to photograph,” he claims – not like during the heady DIY days when he first started taking pictures of the people on the streets of his Harajuku home. To the man who told Dazed he sees “fashion (as) a kind of ability,” this ability, it seems, is now lacking.

All hope is not lost, though – while the print issues may be no more (the last having been published in December last year), Aoki previously expressed to us that he’s optimistic about FRUiTS’ digital presence: “There is potential to create a different, equally special thing online,” he said. “I’d like to donate the entire archive to fashion institutes or groups around the world for preservation and use. I think I might be the only person who has an archive of 80s London and Paris along with 90s Harajuku, so it’s my duty to make it public.”  

Read our longread feature with Aoki here.