ANTI Original Launch 15th-16th March 2014

by average-eye-con

photo (23)ANTI Original is a newly-launched label from Tokyo, Japan,  largely inspired by the British rock and roll scene.  The brand flaunts a punk aesthetic and revels in the spirit of rebellion. 

You may recognise the name ANTI Original from a couple of earlier posts. It’s a brand I’m particularly fond of and am looking forward to working with again in future. So, in a slight departure from usual form, I’m going to tell you about their official launch!

Well, to begin with, I I didn’t think I was going to make it – what with it taking place in Tokyo and my living in London – but lo and behold, I found myself setting out at silly AM Thursday with my usual Tokyo travel companion, who sadly this time, would be bidding me farewell at Heathrow. What spurred me to take this 12,000(ish) mile round trip in the space of 5 days? I just couldn’t help myself… I became firm friends with ANTI Original crew during my last trip to Tokyo and was fairly certain they’d be stoked if I showed my face. It was a mammoth undertaking but entirely worth it as – it turned out – I was spot on.

I killed time in the airport mainly by stuffing my face, and despite my intentions to fall asleep as soon as I boarded, ended up watching a few films. Once you’ve chucked in minor delays, a 12hr45min flight, baggage collection and connecting transport, I arrived at my hotel about 9am local time on Friday… 00:00 at home in the UK, just a casual 20.5hrs after I set out. Eek. My body hated me, but with just three days in the city, I immediately dragged myself out and bummed around Harajuku and Shibuya for a few hours.

Friday night presented an opportunity to chill out before the launch, so I grabbed some Tsukemen from my absolute favourite restaurant in Shinjuku before heading to Cove in Roppongi to meet some friends. A few too many beverages later I headed back to my hotel and collapsed, entirely exhausted and probably too inebriated for my own good!

The exhibition was being held at Helsinki Studio in Roppongi and despite having been there before, it wasn’t that easy to find. A great taxi driver and a few helpful passers by later, I was finally in the right place.

I can’t emphasise enough what a great space this is; I’m in love with it’s whitewashed walls and concrete floors. It’s sparse but not stark, the industrial edge is softened by the small decorative details and for a regular club night, the furniture is cosily arranged to allow small groups to gather and chat. For the purpose of the launch it had been transformed and it couldn’t have looked more perfect. I was greeted first, by what is fast becoming ANTI’s signature image, coupled with styling from their studio shoot. The entire collection was displayed across one wall and accented by photos from various shoots, while another set was ready and waiting on a rail, should anyone wish to try before buying. There was also a projection showing their two promo videos, one from the studio shoot – the other – on location. Both were punctuated by an expertly crafted playlist. As the last of the daylight faded, the candles were lit; the final offering to the altar of ANTI Original.

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There was a steady flurry of traffic whilst I was there. None of those visiting rushed to leave either – each spending time discussing the brand and its ethos with founders; Kenta Matsui, Masa Usuki and Michael Rajkovic. When they did eventually head off, it was with at least one purchase under their arm. After we finally called it a day, there was only one place to go: the after party.

The after  party was held at the infamous Trump Room and played host to an impressive list of DJs, playing sets across two floors. It was absolutely packed. I wish I’d taken more photos! I was still feeling a liiittle tender from Friday’s exploits, so didn’t take full advantage of the bar, deciding instead to mingle. I ran into eminent blogger – and fellow brit – Dan/Tokyo Dandy very briefly and later, spent time chatting with the lovely Ricky (who you may well recognise, if you’re a Long Clothing fan) and his friend. Ricky also manages the Tokyo Modern Street store, which you’ll be very pleased to know offers international shipping ^_~

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I can’t remember what time we left – I do know I had been up for far too long! We piled into a little all you can eat breakfast place and chilled for a bit. I felt/looked like death, but we were well into Sunday by this time – my last day! I spent it helping out at the exhibit and making the most of this opportunity to hang out with friends that I so rarely get the chance to see. Sadly, it passed all too quickly and before I knew it, I was at Narita – Kenta waving farewell – ready to board my flight home… having got around 15 hours sleep (if that) total until this point, I promptly passed out. I was briefly (and rudely) awakened by a fellow passenger who felt the need to sing along to the soundtrack he’d selected for the journey (who fucking does that?!).

By the time I’d touched down in London, the experience already felt distant but fortunately I had a few mementos to assure me it hadn’t been a dream.

Not to mention a couple of amazing vintage jackets – reclaimed and rebranded – by ANTI (which I cannot wait to blog!) as a thank you from the guys – fucking magical people that they are! It was a very short trip but an amazing adventure and I’m very grateful to the guys for having me along for the ride. If you want to get your hands on an ANTI Original tee, then keep an eye on their store. They will be available very soon and will cater for international orders.

As always, thanks for stopping by and I promise, my next post will back to form. Cheers for sticking with me.

Much love xox

PS. I’m not likely to be heading back to Tokyo any time soon, but if you’re around you should probably get yourself to this.