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Hiroshi Fujiwara & The Blueprint of Streetwear

          The world can thank Hiroshi Fujiwara for streetwear. With a resume that reads like a lesson in interdisciplinary creativity and a laundry list of international elites that he counts as close friends and collaborators, Fujiwara’s touch is both the impetus and the blueprint for all that is considered cool today - but long before his crowning as the “Godfather of Streetwear” and reigning cultural architect responsible for shaping modern consumerism, there was Hiroshi Fujiwara of Last Orgy. 
          It was 1987 and Fujiwara was fresh off his return to Japan after years spent exploring London’s punk scene with mentor Malcolm Mclaren, then-manager of the Sex Pistols and partner to Vivienne Westwood, followed by a stint in NYC where the city’s burgeoning hip-hop scene undeniably left it’s impression. Simultaneously uninspired by the ubiquity of his homeland and packed to the brim with acquired cultural currency, Fujiwara launched “Last Orgy” - his fashion-meets-punk-meets-music-meets-sneakers column for underground magazine, Takarajima. 

          An instant success within Japanese youth culture, “Last Orgy” was the internet before the internet was a thing. An evolving archive and an edit from the corners of what was trending according to Fujiwara, “Last Orgy” became the conduit between the East and the West at a time when subcultures were still subversive and discovery was analog. The column contained everything from reviews on hip-hop records to where to buy sneakers to how to style denim - uniquely American subjects that Fujiwara arguably introduced to Japanese culture. An influencer to inspire the influencers and a globe-trotter with an undeniable essence of cool that would make even today’s jet-setting crowd jealous, Fujiwara established himself as a sort of cultural savant able to connect the dots across disciplines and lifestyles in a way that hadn’t been done yet. 

          The reach of “Last Orgy” was era-defining for streetwear. A prescient experiment in cultural collaboration and high-low consumerism, Fujiwara created the template for what would become the world’s mecca for style and design. It was where the likes of Jun Takahashi and Nigo got their start, without which we wouldn’t have Undercover or BAPE. It was how the Harajuku district was born, with Fujiwara launching his retail store GOODENOUGH off the tails of his column. It was ultimately why Nike HTM (or better known as the triumvirate of sneaker design, with H standing for Hiroshi Fugiwara, T for Tinker Hatfield, and M for Mark Parker) exists giving us the most sought after collaborations and drops for nearly 20 years. Lastly, it was the foundation for Fragment Design, Fujiwara’s fashion concept that works as part design firm, part brand consultancy, and part cultural archive.

          To encapsulate the influence of Fujiwara is to set off on an impossible mission. Counting Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh as fans, along Sarah Andleman of Colette who famously referred to him as “the godfather of all young, promising designers today,” Fujiwara has a range that spans fashion, media, music, travel, retail, and design. His stamp of approval, or more succinctly the double lightning bolts representing Fragment, have been pivotal in shaping the canon of contemporary art and fashion - ushering in a new generation of creators and consumers set on redefining style. 

          And now we have the next iteration of Fujiwara’s universe - the AJ3’s by Fragment x Jordan. A follow up on his highly coveted 2014 AJ1 release, his latest design is a further exploration in the connection of streetwear to art and culture to consumerism in a way that only Fujiwara could manufacture. A classic silhouette featuring the iconic Fragment logo with a subtle SKU number printed on the sole, the clean black and white “orca” colorway is elevated through Fujiwara’s attention to detail and as always his unparalleled ability, 30 years in the making, to masterfully capture culture and taste.

Writing by Rachel Misick (@rachelmisick)