I have always wanted to do a story about 45R - one of my favorite stores in the neighborhood. I have been frequenting 169 Mercer Street since 2000 when they first opened in Soho. During the course of the past 22 years they have cultivated numerous die-hard fans, and I am one of them.
It is not possible to write about 45R without going into their rich history. The company was founded in Tokyo in 1978 by Hiroshi Masuyama, as founding president, and Yasumi Inoue, as the brand’s designer. In 1979 they were joined by the current president Shinji Takahashi. The name 45RPM was inspired by a photograph of American youth hanging around a jukebox, grooving to a 45R single popular at the time. In 2017, honoring 40 years and after opening numerous stores in Japan as well as stores in New York, San Francisco and Paris, they tweaked the brand name to be 45R. There is a wonderful book 45R put out recently to celebrate their 45th anniversary. To know more about their history and brand philosophy, please click here -
Since their founding they have maintained a tradition of making garments using traditional Japanese hand work techniques. From the sourcing of the raw materials to creating their own fabrics, they are involved at every step of the garment making process. Part of what is so fascinating to me is the way their Japanese sensibility is so beautifully juxtaposed against an American spirit of freedom. The vibe the founders felt when they first saw that photograph of American youth, its sense of freedom and spontaneity, along with an inherent appreciation for traditional craft and materials, makes for a powerful and unique design aesthetic.
Photographer Chris Shonting and I visited the Soho store recently. Although I am quite familiar with the space, I was able to see it anew through the eyes and lens of Chris - who was seeing and experiencing 45R for the first time. His eye caught so many wonderful things and I am so pleased to have an opportunity to share his images with you.