PARK-ing Ginza carries the hippest sportswear and music in its setting in an underground parking garage.
TOKYO — Want to hit the edgiest shop in one of the world’s most cutting-edge shopping cities? Head underground to PARK-ing Ginza, a store secreted in a parking garage steps from the mobs thronging the Ginza shopping district.
The store opened in March, and sells the hippest in denim, beauty, home accessories and music.
Opened by Hiroshi Fujiwara, universally referred to here as the godfather of streetwear, it draws beautifully understated hipsters and other stylish types who are more than willing to roll in off the street and tumble down a spiral ramp into the store.
A store in a lightless underground setting is not so alien a concept here as it may be in other cities. Tokyo is threaded with vast networks of underground retail concourses beneath train stations or office towers. Some of the more delectable shopping is found at food halls in the subbasements of major department stores.
The PARK-ing Ginza was inspired by a tunnel where Fujiwara once parked his car. He exited the vehicle to find a Chinese restaurant doing a thriving business in a location resembling nothing so much as the bunker that once served as Kimmy Schmidt’s address.
Designed by architect Nobuo Araki, the bare cavernous space below the Sony Building was once home to an even unlikelier operation, a Gallic restaurant called Maxim’s.
Araki scrapped the flocked wallpaper and stamped red velvet to expose raw concrete walls and ductwork. He added a stucco-covered entry ramp and created spaces at entry level that he rented to outposts of the locally revered Café de Rope Ginza, along with Bonjour Records, whose speakers were blasting the Dutch DJ Tiesto’s moody dance remix of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” when a reporter recently stopped by.
Down the ramp is a cluster of cagelike enclosures constructed to house the PARK-ing Ginza’s anchor tenants (Nike; retaW, the fragrance and beauty brand; and Denim By, a collaboration between Fujiwara and Ryo Ishikawa’s Vanquish brand) along with a rotating roster of pop-ups by Fujiwara collaborators like Jun Takahashi of Undercover or delightful startups like the label Descendant.
Descendant offers products emblematic of the cultural hybridization has Fujiwara has done so much to inspire. With its whale rugs, Nantucket motifs and rescaled interpretations of L.L. Bean’s classic canvas tote bags, the goods designed are so deeply American in spirit, they could only have been made in Japan.