When Shibuya 109 opened in 1979 it targeted career women in the age 25 - 40 demographic. In youth-oriented Shibuya — this plan didn't last long. Within a few short years Shibuya 109 was known for its youthful female shoppers.
Fashion CommunityShibuya 109 is run as a "Fashion Community". Its 10 floors are filled with small shops that pay portions of their revenues to the shopping mall's owner (Tokyu Corp). Fashion labels must compete to stay in the mall (based on revenue).
This model ensures that shops stay fresh and trendy. When a brand goes out of style — it's out (within months). The model is working. In the 2000s most Japanese department stores had flat growth. Shibuya 109 doubled it's revenue 1995 - 20081.
Cultural ImpactShibuya 109 is a legendary shopping mall. Possibly the single most famous shopping mall in Japan. It gets constant media attention in Japan and abroad.
It's a trend setting (and high revenue) location. Success at Shibuya 109 means everything to a start-up fashion brand. Sales girls are selected who fit the brand's image and have the (ultra aggressive) sales instinct. It's common for sales girls at the famed shopping mall to be featured in Japanese fashion magazines. Many become high profile ambassadors for their brands.
The sales floors of Shibuya 109 are frenzied and loud.
Men rarely enter the world of Shibuya 109. When they do it's usually with their girlfriend or daughter.
Shibuya 109 pushes the limits of girl's fashion. It's the type of stuff women over 24 are unlikely to wear.