One day he’s simply walking around Tokyo and the next he’s the darling of the Paris fashion world.

When it comes to fashion, nowhere in the world raises eyebrows quite like Japan. As the home of cosplay, trendsetters like to dress up and walk outside the boundaries of mainstream fashion here, and when international designers and musicians like Gwen Stefani and Kanye West are looking for inspiration, Tokyo is the city they turn to for ideas.

This year, Balenciaga came to town, scouring the streets of Tokyo for a new face for their upcoming runway show in Paris. And proving how hip the Balenciaga scouts were, they headed to Koenji, a neighbourhood west of Shinjuku known for its grungy vibe and second-hand thrift stores. This is where they surveyed the streets and spotted a Japanese man called Plasma.

The story of their chance encounter first came to light back in May this year, when Plasma posted this tweet on his Twitter account.

“I was just walking around Koenji when three foreigners who were like fashion personified crowded around me, saying they’d come from Paris to do casting for Balenciaga. They took photos and asked for my email address…if this is true it’d be amazing.”

Less than five months later, he posted an update to the above tweet, saying “It was true.”

Despite sounding like something out of a dream, what happened to Plasma certainly was real, as this clip shows him far away from Koenji, strutting his stuff on the Paris catwalk late last month.

Plasma posted another tweet, with details of the designer outfit he modelled for the high-end luxury fashion brand, and the impressive looking space where Balenciaga showcased their new collection.

“After being scouted while walking in Koenji, I walked on the Paris runway as a model for Balenciaga”

During his stay in Paris, Plasma was also photographed for a special Balenciaga story set to appear in the next issue of Re-Edition Magazine. Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga, was also interviewed for the article, where he talks about their models being “Not just actors and models, each of them does something, each of them has the presence I’m always looking for, each of them has their own way of wearing clothes”.

This is certainly true of Plasma, who’s been rocking his unique style in Tokyo with a squad of cool friends for years.

His long hair and bushy bleached eyebrows is enough to turn heads on the street wherever he goes.

But it’s his fashion sense that truly makes him stand out in a crowd, even when he’s just shopping in the aisles at the supermarket.

As well as carving out his own path in fashion, Plasma has also delved into the music world, performing gigs with hardcore punk indie band Nature Danger Gang until their split last year, and now performing as part of new trio g.a.g.

With so much going on in the world of Plasma, it’s nice to see that the overnight success story that took him from the streets of Tokyo to the Paris catwalk hasn’t all gone to his head. He posted this sweet message on his Instagram account just three days ago, sincerely thanking everyone from his bandmates to friends, the scouts who found him, the Balenciaga team who “always praised my individuality”, his family who raised him, and his parents who brought him into this world.

Following his Paris catwalk appearance, it’s yet to be seen what Plasma’s next step will be. If luxury fashion brand Gucci comes calling though, they know where to find him.

So if you’re looking to become the next darling of the international fashion world, you might want to skip the kawaii capital of Harajuku and take the train to Koenji instead. And if you need a place to hang out while you’re there, you can try some of the fluffiest rice omelettes in the world at Ailnoir.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Instagram/reeditionmag