airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
Dover Street Market sign in Ginza, Tokyo | © ryo katsuma/Flickr
Dover Street Market sign in Ginza, Tokyo | © ryo katsuma/Flickr
Save to wishlist

A Brief History Of Tokyo's Dover Street Market

Picture of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer
Updated: 29 August 2016
‘I would like for Dover Street Market, Ginza to be the place where fashion becomes fascinating’, so says Rei Kawabuko, founder of the Comme des Garçons clothing line on Dover Street Market’s official site, real market located in Ginza, Tokyo. She’s a woman of few words, preferring that her designs speak for themselves. Read on for the story behind the eclectic and artistic mashup that is Dover Street Market, Tokyo.

In 2004, the original Dover Street Market in London, England opened and was a hit with locals with over 150 local and international, high-end and up-and-coming fashions all in one place. This explains the name of Ginza’s fashion market. However, this wasn’t Rei’s first experience with the international fashion market as she opened up a boutique for her Comme des Garçons fashions in Paris in 1982 and New York in 1986. By the 1990s, one fourth of her stores were located outside of Japan. Her fashions were praised for their edgy looks, challenging the conventional preconceptions of beauty at that time.

The original Dover Street Market in London | © Denna Jones/Flickr / A look from Comme des Garcons Spring 2011 collection | © Beauty Architect/Flickr / Inside Comme des Garcons's Future Systems shop in NYC | © Forgemind/Flickr
The original Dover Street Market in London | © Denna Jones/Flickr / A look from Comme des Garcons Spring 2011 collection | © Beauty Architect/Flickr / Inside Comme des Garcons's Future Systems shop in NYC | © Forgemind/Flickr

In 2006, Dover Street Market’s second branch opened in Ginza, Tokyo. Just like the original, the roster of designers often changes, so it pays to keep on coming back for more. Rei has always believed that the designs surrounding a fashion house – advertising, website and shop interiors – are an important aspect of a brand’s image. So it’s no wonder that the Ginza branch of Dover Street Market has been compared to walking through an art installation.

These first two Dover Street Markets were followed by two more franchises in New York and Beijing. Rei’s vision of a place where designers could all come together to share their vision and work together was a smashing success. Although the 73-year-old Rei is no longer managing the Dover Street Markets, her spirit continues to inspire and live on in them all.

📅 Sunday-Thursday 11AM-8PM, open til 9PM Fridays and Saturdays

Featured Image Credit: Dover Street Market sign in Ginza, Tokyo | © ryo katsuma/Flickr