A week of Gilfy – Gilfy and Backs History and Style

Gilfy was my first love when starting out shopping at 109 so I think a week of love to one of the most popular gal stores is needed.

Maison Gilfy’s 109 store

I used to be such a Gilfy whore that I got to the point I couldn’t go a day without wearing something Gilfy. A hat. a bag. a dress… anything. However I was saddened by the turn out of their last few seasons. I admit my love wanes sometimes, but I still look to them for great original designs.

So this week is all about Gilf-gilf-gilfy~! :idea:

Gilfy is obscenely popular. Gilfy/ReDark/Backs has 31 stores in Japan, Gilfy alone has 15 :!: . Compared to popular Mar*s store that only has 12 total locations, it’s just dwarfed. Gilfy transcends gyaru, but even with its immense popularity spilling out it still is very much a favorite with gals. They were the number one advertiser to Shibuhara’s Pop Sister issue 1 while still supporting Ageha as well.

Upcoming this week

Gilfy, Backs, ReDark history:

arti-sanal Gilfy in Osaka OPA

Gilfy means gilded + beautify = Gilfy. Debuting in 2004 in 109 after winning the 109 scout for new talent competition. Gilfy started their own style with bias mismatch seemed cotton teamed with non-Engrish words, zipper accents, oddly placed details and perennial plaid. They’ve made themselves their own brand of rock.

Shibuya 109 ReDark

ReDark was known as the AmeKaji brand arm and was debuted in 2008 Spring to much fanfare, but had repetitive seasons and has since changed to more Backs monotone style. Its future currently seems the most perilous and other than the 109 store and Nagoya Passe mall it has no other self-contained store.

Backs at Osaka OPA

Backs opened in Fall 2008 became instantly popular for its mix of monotone and mannish looks with close-fitting styles and black rimmed glasses. In magazines sometimes people now call their look Backs-kei, meaning it has gained its own style genre. Backs has made a name for itself with accessories that combine well with other rock/mannish/oraora styles such as watches, glasses and tennis shoes.

Gilfy’s newest endeavor 0/6 by Gilfy opened in Fall 2009 in OPA in Osaka. The 0/6 brand is sold online, at Gilfy Market and OPA. In the previous seasons it was obvious Gilfy was trying to make originality in all their stores. With 4 brandings currently and yet all (except for ReDark) being in the same style genre it’s been hard to distance themselves for each other and sometimes the looks can be a bit diluted. 0/6 seems like Gilfy’s answer to the interpreting the trends without sacrificing Gilfy’s originality.

Both ReDark and Backs have had a renewals recently. In 109 terms a renewal means we ****ed up last season and we’re taking a new direction. Renewal is quite common and is a way of advertising sales in a non-sale time and changing up the look of your store to attract more customers. Moussy, Duras, Mar*s, Egoist and more all use this tactic.

What is Gilfy style

Gilfy’s style breakdown relies on monotone, but also some bold colors. They love quirky accents, structured looks and when shopstaff introduce their clothes they often say “kakkoii” (cool) or “oshare” (stylish). Considering shopstaff at most 109 stores pull out “kawaii desu ne” (it’s so cute) with every item, you can tell they consider their clothes and style a brand apart.


Bold and monotone with cool details such as their double cardigan that reappears each season. This is a good look at how Gilfy likes to accessorize: hats, a chunky necklace.


This is very Gilfy style with shorts with a cool denim print + accents, and the bias double pattern shirt with glitter. There’s a lot going on, but they pull it together.


Newspaper print + bold color patches and a frill dress. Gilfy isn’t afraid to do girly items as long as they contain Gilfy aspects.

What is Backs style


Their key element has been a mannish west combine with cotton tees. Their look is extremely monotone.


Another vest element with a gilfy skirt pleat. Backs-kei likes mid-calf boots.


A very mannish, strong look. Backs-kei with a hat + glasses + short pants + midcalf boots. The black rimmed glasses have become a staple of Backs-kei lovers.


With the rise of Agejo Backs is doing a bit more feminine touch on some of their items and they seem to be selling well.

Not to say they sometimes don’t overlap (as in my S/S predictions from 2009)

Left to right: Gilfy, Backs & ReDark. A lot of the same 8)

11 Comments

  1. Ashley
    January 25, 2010 / 7:07 pm

    Could you explain a shop staff. I think i get the concept but im not sure

    • Mitsu
      January 25, 2010 / 9:49 pm

      Sure I’ll do that when I show the shopstaff tomorrow and I planned on getting a more detailed description of what life as a shopstaff is like in one whole post :wink:

  2. January 25, 2010 / 9:44 pm

    I just love and super appreciate these brand introduction posts, they are so useful. And your writing style is approachable, easy to read but not simplified. :)

    Both Gilfy and Backs appeal to me, for some reason I am really drawn to monotone. I have been increasing interested in items with unusual structure or accents so these are appealing to my aesthetic.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing more during Gilfy week hehe :love:

    • Mitsu
      January 26, 2010 / 1:26 pm

      I love monotone, too. I have been trying to step out of it lately because my closet looks like a black and white landmine exploded in it, but it feels like monotone looks stay in style longer as compared to bright or pastel pieces. :oops:

  3. January 25, 2010 / 10:29 pm

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog. Thank you for sharing with us :) Posts like these are incredibly helpful <3 and I'm looking forward to Gilfy week !

    Also, I'm still wondering if you're selling magazines on your selling blog? I tried to leave a comment there cause there's a mag I'm really interested in LOL

    • Mitsu
      January 26, 2010 / 1:27 pm

      Thank you :idea: :idea:

      I am, but I have been wanting to add more to the sale blog and bring it over to this domain, maybe end of February I’ll start adding more and get it back up again :panda:

  4. January 26, 2010 / 12:11 am

    I loooove Gilfy! It’s one of my fave brands :D!

    • Mitsu
      January 26, 2010 / 1:28 pm

      :love: Gilfy rocks!

  5. January 26, 2010 / 6:27 am

    LOVED this post!! ♥
    I’ve always wondered what ‘Gilfy’ meant, haha~ & it’s funny, but I just had this FEELING that those brands were all connected somehow! Now I know! XD
    I think I like Gilfy style best though, since it seems more fun & not so ‘monotone’… Backs has some cute items though, especially the mannish vest. I love those, lol~
    Looking forward to more! ♥

    • Mitsu
      January 26, 2010 / 1:29 pm

      LOL Yeah even knowing what it means it seems such silliness though :roll:

      I like some Backs items, but yeah I still haven’t walked out of that store with a shopping bag in my hand. Maybe it is the color issue :oops:

  6. January 26, 2010 / 2:56 pm

    Oh!! I like this brand!! but its colors are sad… -_- and a little masculine style..

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