In a tragic post that went live on Twitter today, we discovered that staple Harajuku brand SWIMMER will be closing down all of it’s locations, as well as it’s sister brand chocoholic, after 30 years of operation. If you have ever had the opportunity to visit any of SWIMMER’s locations, you’d understand what I mean when I say that they were an absolute essential for any budding fashionista or kawaii enthusiast. Operated by a bubbly team of staff, they offered low-priced accessories and goods for just about any look years on end.
In a letter sent out to all their shoppers and fans, they expressed deep regret in their closure and eternal gratitude for the support they had received. They also explained that manufacturing had simply gotten too expensive for the independent stores, and they simply weren’t able to continue to operate under such conditions. From January 2018 all locations will be closed down, and it will be in December 2017 that the online store will cease to exist. For those of you that haven’t seen the tweet sent out, I’ve gone ahead and embedded it below:
— SWIMMER Press (@SWIMMER_Press) June 8, 2017
I’ve been seeing a lot of reports on the death of Harajuku culture throughout the last year, and whilst I’ve been keeping my distance from contributing to that trend, this latest blow certainly doesn’t help at all. It’ll be interesting to see where the gentrification and growth of Harajuku leads the fashion capital, especially leading into the 2020 olympics that are just around the corner.
With little else to contribute than my unwavering thanks to the entire team at SWIMMER for their commitment over the years, I’d like to remind everyone to support the smaller brands that shape the subcultures we all know and love. There’s so many situations where this can be difficult, especially when it comes to price, but your choices are what keeps these cultures alive, especially leading into such uncharted waters. If you’re interested in supporting SWIMMER throughout these difficult next two years, you can support them through their online store or at one of their many locations across Japan.
Thank you, Swimmer.