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Instagram of the Week: @fruits_magazine_archive

The IG uploading the entire FRUiTS magazine archive

From Gothic Lolitas to futuristic cyberpunks, @fruits_magazine_archive is bringing the era-defining publication to a new generation

Harajuku style, referring to the Tokyo neighbourhood in which it was born, boomed onto the scene in the 90s. Gothic lolita, cyberpunk and every other impossible to categorise look in between was documented by photographer Shoichi Aoki, who captured the area’s style from 1997 to 2017 in his influential magazine, FRUiTS.

The publication helped bring the fluid, flamboyant, and fresh aesthetics of Japanese youth culture to the world stage, with its influences still felt today. However, Aoki discontinued the publication three years ago, claiming there were “no more fashionable kids to photograph”. 

Thankfully for us, swiftly after its closure, Tokyo-based editor Chris Tordoff decided to dedicate an Instagram to it. Called @fruits_magazine_archives, the page gives the publication a new lease of digital life.

FRUiTS has a very unique identity that showcases an exciting and innovative era in Japanese fashion,” Tordoff explains. “We felt it was the right time to introduce it to a whole new generation who are interested in the ethos of documenting DIY fashion.”

Tordoff first became inspired by the fashion of 90s Japan after watching a documentary on the topic on Channel 4. Later, after moving to Tokyo, he ended up meeting Aoki and convinced him to allow him to make an archive account for the magazine. “We met for a coffee and those unique styles of the 90s came flooding back. I implored him to give them a new lease of life via Instagram,” Tordoff explains.

Telling Dazed he wants to upload every picture from the magazine’s extensive archives onto the account, Tordoff shares a picture, provided by Aoki, from the magazine every day – from the year 1998 onwards. “Instagram is still fresh in the way it documents fashion trends, especially compared to the original print format of FRUiTS,” he says.

And now it seems Aoki has embraced a new generation of Harajuku teens himself. Despite his comments citing the neighbourhood’s loss of style, Aoki has found hope in the form of contemporary designers, whom, he tells Dazed, are having a ’very important impact on the Harajuku fashion landscape’, and are paving the way right now. 

“The first fashion boom had exhausted Harajuku fashion, but about a year ago, we started seeing signs of new style growth in Harajuku when designers Demna Gvasalia and Virgil Abloh broke the deadlock and breathed new life into street fashion,” Aoki explains. “The distinctive fashion items created by Demna and Virgil evolved into something that would suitably fit into FRUiTS. Because of this, I have decided to focus on a FRUiTS magazine relaunch. Thank you Demna and Virgil!”

With a potential revival of the seminal publication on the way (thank you Demna and Virgil indeed!), Aoki still acknowledges the challenges of creating a print magazine in the current fashion landscape. “Today’s fashion media is quite different,” he explains. “It’s no longer enough to publish a print magazine in the digital media age, as much as I would like to, I need to think deeply about how to adapt. Of course, Instagram is important, but it isn’t enough to tell the story.”