The Apartment | Footpatrol Meets

06.04.23 Footpatrol Meets

On a recent Japanese excursion, we met up with the guys from The Apartment Tokyo. A small store located in Kitchijoji not far from the centre of Tokyo. The Apartment offers a taste of New York’s music and street culture. They also have an impressive portfolio of collaborations with the likes of New Balance. We caught up with owner Takayuki Ohashi and the team to learn about all things The Apartment.

The Apartment Store Tokyo shot by Alice Holland

The Apartment Store Tokyo shot by Alice Holland

The Apartment Store Tokyo shot by Alice Holland

Footpatrol: Hi Takayuki, hope you are well, thank you for taking the time to speak to us, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Takayuki: Thank you, I was born and raised on the north side of Tokyo in the late 1970s. It is an area where many working-class people live. I grew up in a public housing complex. I discovered HIP-HOP in the 90s and from there I fell in love with sneakers and street fashion.

FP: Can you tell us a bit about The Apartment?

Takayuki: the Apartment is a select store. It does not just sell clothes but introduces them along with the music and street culture behind them. It is a very small store located far from the center of Tokyo.

The Apartment Store Tokyo shot by Alice Holland

FP: What inspired you to open a store?

Takayuki: I love a good old mom-and-pop store. And I think the city folks need community spaces. At first, I wanted to open a public bathhouse called “SENTO” in Tokyo. It is a place like a barbershop in New York City. A place where every people could visit, talk, and socialize. However, I gave up on the public bathhouse because of a small budget and opened a clothing store.

FP: What is unique about the store?

Takayuki: First of all, our store is very small. All of the store interiors are also handmade by myself. I built the shelves, tiled the floor, painted the sign, and even did the electrical work. Everything is handmade. First-time visitors will be surprised. We are located in a local town, a bit far from the center of Tokyo. I think it is very unique that such a small store with only one store can collaborate with a world-class company.

FP: We understand that you have a very big personal collection of The North Face, when did you start collecting?

Takayuki: I started collecting in the ’90s, and it increased greatly in the 2000s.

FP: Where did the concept for starbridge come from?

Takayuki: The concept of STABRIDGE is to connect places that are far apart like a bridge, New York and Tokyo, outdoor and urban, past and future, etc.

FP: How would you describe the sneaker culture in Japan?

Takayuki: In the 1990s, sneaker culture was associated with music and street fashion. In the past few years, they have also become an investment. Recently, resale prices have dropped and the excitement has subsided. Once again, there needs to be a connection to the background culture.

FP: How do you set The Apartment apart from other stores in Japan?

Takayuki: It is not our job to sell the fads and hot-selling products that makers create. We create new trends that emanate from the streets by drawing customers’ attention to overlooked masterpieces, masterpieces that not everyone knows about.

FP: What’s next for The Apartment ??

Takayuki: We want to liven up our neighborhood. We want to carry on the old culture and start a business other than a clothing store. And We will be collaborating with some footwear brands again this year. Please look forward to it.

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