This weekend local fashion fans were buzzing with news that the first ever h.Naoto US flagship store was opening in San Francisco's Japan Town neighborhood. Housed on the second floor of the iconic New People Building, the shop features a wide array of pieces from the h.Naoto line including, skirts, tees, pants, dresses and a bevy of h.Naoto's trademark punk/gothic lolita inspired accessories.
"I am so happy, and overwhelmed at the response to my store opening" designer Naoto Hirooka told SW during the press reception on Saturday night. "There have been so many people in the store today, I can not believe it. I really want to take this amazing feeling, of love and how I have been embraced by the fans in San Francisco back to Japan and use it when I design my next collection."
While the excitement, and local support of the h.Naoto brand may have been a surprise to the designer himself, for those following local fashion trends it was completely expected. Since the launch of the JPOP Summit festival in 2009, the Bay Area has seen a growing awareness and appreciation of many Japanese fashion brands. h. Naoto is one of the most prominent of these brands to break into the San Francisco market in both his celebrity following (Naoto has designed for rock groups such as Evanescence and Gackt) and for his hugely creative construction. This prominence has lead the designer has acquired an almost cult-like following among the Bay Area avant-garde set, a fact that was obvious during the most recent JPOP Summit festival when throngs of fans turned up for the invitation-only h. Naoto runway show, and the H. Naoto street style competiton.
The h. Naoto flag ship store is located on the 2nd Floor of the New People building at 1746 Post Street in San Francisco. In celebration of the launch, designer h. Naoto will be onsite in the shop through Sunday. During this Grand Opening weekend New People is also hosting an special h. Naoto installation featuring one-of-a-kind pieces designed for musicians and celebrities throughout the designer's career on the third floor of the building in the Superfrog Gallery.