"Shopping Japan With Four Pins" is an ongoing series in which Amardeep Singh takes us on a tour of the country's best shops. See them all here.
Part III: 1LDK, Nakameguro
There's an abundance of self-described "lifestyle" stores popping up in the United States. Maybe because "lifestyle" is a buzzword of sorts. Maybe because of the influence of living under a fiercely capitalistic empire. Or maybe because it's easier for people to live a certain aesthetic when there's one company that sells it for consumption. But how many of the available lifestyles in stock at your nearest major city is a lifestyle you actually want to embody? Japan, being just as fiercely capitalistic as the US, has no shortage of lifestyle stores as well, but I think I may have found one that I don't actually hate. Actually, let me rephrase that, I've definitely found at least one that I absolutely love in Nakameguro, called 1LDK.
Nakameguro is a neighborhood not too far south of Shibuya that gives off an interesting vibe similar to that of New York's Williamsburg, but with a slightly less negative connotation and with the history to match. About a decade or so ago, Nakameguro was just an ordinary upper-middle class neighborhood with relatively reasonable rents. A few shop owners took a chance with opening shops in the calm neighborhood, followed by some more shop owners, followed by even more shop owners. Today, hoards of unique shops line the roads adjacent to the Meguro river.
1LDK, named after a classic style of apartment with 1 living room, a dining room and a kitchen, is one of these shops: a lifestyle store that exudes the comfort that would come along with shopping in a friend's apartment, albeit a very wealthy, sophisticated, stylish friend's apartment. I took a look at their men's shop in Nakameguro, which is located across the street from the women's shop and the 1LDK cafe, called Taste & Sense, which, in itself, is delicious, relatively cheap and has food that is immaculately presented with unlimited coffee and orange juice. That pretty much fits all of the requirements to be called a "favorite restaurant" in my book, especially the unlimited OJ part.
The men's shop, home to 1LDK private label items under the moniker Universal Products—in addition to international labels such as Maison Martin Margiela, Hender Scheme and Tilak, among many others—presents a relaxed atmosphere that people in the US would consider akin to Muji without the department store feeling. I was immediately impressed by the presentation, with lots of white and wood finishing alongside the occasional pop of color in the primary red-colored clothing racks, the clothing on the racks largely separated by color. A warm, welcoming space, it's hard not to be charmed by the store, especially considering the breadth of items carried. From menswear, to silverware, to face towels, pens and beyond, you're guaranteed to fall in love with something while you're here.
Some standouts: an all white MA-1 by Unused, navy wool sneakers from Orphic and the coziest looking gray tapered "Sweat Slacks" from the aforementioned in-house brand Universal Products. But beware, although they will soon open a 1LDK store in Paris, their webshop doesn't currently offer shipping to North America, so you'll still have to rely on your friendly neighborhood Japanese proxy to order things abroad for now.
1A 1-8-28, Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan