Japanese Brand BEAMS’ First USA Foray

Fred Segal on Sunset Boulevard hosts their pop-up shop

Glowing Japanese lanterns fill a giant window at Fred Segal on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, marking fashion and lifestyle brand BEAMS‘ first physical presence in the United States. It’s an apt location considering Fred Segal was the first retailer to bring BEAMS products stateside back in 2011, and recently launched the BEAMS x Ziploc collection. For the pop-up, the BEAMS team selected items from their collection that spotlight Japanese craft within apparel, accessories and objects, all displayed alongside BEAMS+, BEAMS BOY, and BEAMS COUTURE sub-brands.

Originally established in 1976 in Harajuku, BEAMS began as Yo Shitara’s vision of an America-style store in Tokyo. While visiting a friend at UCLA, he noticed something different about student housing. “All of the rooms in the dorm were the same, but everyone styled their rooms very differently to my eyes then. It appeared very fresh. I was inspired by that. I wanted to bring back that California/Los Angeles type of lifestyle to Japan. And out came BEAMS,” he explains, via translator Kana Kinoshita, at the opening celebration. It’s also here that he takes part in the Japanese tradition of Kagami Biraki—breaking open the lid of a sake barrel—alongside Fred Segal’s John Frierson and Jeff Lotman.

When thinking about what items to bring to LA for the pop-up, Shitara says he wanted to include items that tell the story of what he was trying to achieve in Tokyo. “We think it is our strength that we can express pop culture and Japanese tradition at the same time,” he tells us. “We always try to achieve the perfect balance.”

Along with BEAMS’ apparel collections, the custom wood shelves are filled with the brand’s teapots, fans, sandals, daruma, lucky cats, lacquerware, their familiar satin souvenir jackets and more. Small graphic hand-painted lanterns adorn the shelves inside, pairing with the large white lanterns visible from the street—all combining to glow beautifully. This rich light evokes both Japanese tradition and the warmth of the California sunshine—striking the balance of which Shitara speaks so warmly.

The BEAMS Japan pop-up is open at Fred Segal Sunset now through January 2020.

Images courtesy of BEAMS