WORDS BY SOPHIE HENDERSON
Few cities live up to the sprawling megalopolis status of Tokyo. The very idea of the city is exciting, from its spirited neon signs and fashion boutiques to dense salaryman crowds at Shibuya Crossing. In reality, it’s a refreshing epicenter of culture that thrives on running smoothly.
Fashion is transformed into a lifestyle, and amidst a patchwork of unique neighborhoods lies all kinds of discovery. Street culture, nostalgia, and authenticity emanate in Tokyo more than anywhere else in Japan — from the rainbow-bright fashion groups of Harajuku to the low-key locals of leafy Daikanyama.
Even in Shibuya, which has undergone massive redevelopment in the last few years, there remains a traditional charm. Relaxed cafés make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the Shōwa era, while warm and energetic karaoke bars are decorated with ‘70s telephones, faded signboards and an abundance of vintage accessories.
There’s an effortless sense of vibrancy right across the city. Enamored by this visual encyclopedia of fashion, we caught up with Kyohei Hattori, a model and photographer who is based in Shibuya. Wearing his favorite pieces from FARFETCH, he took a selection of self-portraits in his most treasured neighborhood.
Kyohei Hattori / 服部恭平 (@kyoheihattori)
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Kyohei Hattori. I started modeling when I moved from Osaka to Tokyo about 10 years ago. These past four years I have been working as a photographer, through which I’ve been an active member of DROPtokyo.
What do you like about Tokyo? And what is the typical Tokyo style, in your opinion?
What I like about Tokyo is that there are so many people. Everyone who comes to Tokyo wants to achieve something, so meeting new people is always very inspirational.
Despite Tokyo being such a populated city, people tend to worry a lot about how they are seen by others. We should all value our own sensibilities and embrace confidence.
How does the city of Tokyo influence your own personal style?
Tokyo is constantly changing however, tradition still exists. I think our fashion reflects the amalgamation of the old and the new. I strive to enjoy fashion freely without worrying about how others see me.
Where is your favorite place in Tokyo? Where do you usually go shopping?
I like places that haven’t changed for a long time and have elements of eternality. The streetscape of the place hasn't been regenerated, and the likes of Yoyogi Park and Shibuya are really nice.
As I live in Shibuya, I enjoy the diversity. I love watching streams of people walking around at night-time, and I like to spend time at a rock bar called Grandfather’s. I usually shop online, though I enjoy the process of trying things on. I like strolling around the shops of Omotesandō, a beautiful tree-lined avenue.
Tell us about the area you shot your self-portraits in?
Since Shibuya is currently under redevelopment, the scenery is changing every day. I cherish the things that remain the same, like classic bars, residential areas, electric cables and vending machines. I treasure never-changing things as they are just as important as the things that change.
You are a model and a photographer, what do you find most appealing and rewarding about your work?
Both jobs require building interpersonal relationships, my goals simply cannot be achieved on my own. I feel attracted to both roles because I feel connected with others through my work.
At DROPtokyo, we use the photographer’s own judgment to choose subjects. As for me, I am drawn to those who seem to really love and enjoy fashion or are active in various creative fields. I focus on different aspects of the subject’s life.
Has the pandemic changed the way you look at things or your creations?
I choose to spend time with the people I love, rather than a lot of people. This is important whether you're in a pandemic or not.
Lastly, can you please tell us about the items you are wearing in the photos?
I see a lot of neutral colorways in Tokyo, but I am always conscious about the impact of color in my outfits. If you feel happy, you should wear bold, bright, and happy colors.