TOKYO — The New York graffiti artist Brian Donnelly, who is known as KAWS, has opened a store under his brand name, OriginalFake, in the Aoyama district here.
The opening last month coincided with the nation’s “Golden Week,” a collection of four national holidays celebrated within seven days.
The shop is a venture between KAWS and Medicom Toy Corp., a Japanese manufacturer of highly detailed action figures and anime femme fatales, which promotes the idea of toys as works of art. Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall coordinated the interior design.
“When creating this store, it was important for us to create a space that reflected the unique combination of Medicom Toy, Wonderwall and my work,” KAWS said of the space, which is filled with oversized figures displayed in glass cases. Wonderwall is responsible for the store design of streetwear brand A Bathing Ape.
KAWS first collaborated with Medicom in 2002 to create a series of toys. OriginalFake is KAWS’ first shop and features apparel, lithographs and toys, such as BE@RBRICK, bear-like figures that have become sought-after collectibles. The so-called 100 percent version sells for about $9 and the larger 400 percent is $45. T-shirts are priced at $63. Dollar figures were converted at the current exchange rate.
Vintage KAWS products can be found for sale on eBay and Yahoo, where bids can be several times the original price. The starting bid on an original limited-edition signed lithograph was recently $1,350 on eBay.
In the past, KAWS has collaborated with cutting-edge Japanese brands such as Under Cover and Ape. At the Bape Cafe in Harajuku, KAWS art is displayed on the walls.
The artist, who has held several exhibitions in Tokyo, has established a large following in Japan, especially in the Aoyama district, one of the most popular shopping and entertainment neighborhoods for young people in the city. Aoyama is where stores such as Prada, Miu Miu, 10 Corso Como and Comme des Garçons have established outposts, and where Juicy Couture recently unveiled a large store.
OriginalFake is on the lower level of the Oh Building at 5-3-25 Minami Aoyama. As customers step down to enter the store, they come face to face with a 10-foot-high Companion, the first figure KAWS released, with elephantine ears and Xs for eyes. Walls in the store are lined with metal sheets embossed with a geometric pattern that looks like the symbol of a certain luxury designer handbag. The ceiling is lined with giant teeth.