A-MISH Co., Ltd., parent company of punk brand ALGONQUINS (アルゴンキン), filed for bankruptcy on March 1, 2019. A-MISH Co., Ltd. was founded in 1984. The total debt is about 260 million yen (approximately $2.32 million).
Originally started as a casual brand, it shifted its image to gothic and lolita style in the Heisei era. ALGONQUINS gained popularity by putting ads in magazines targeted towards young people such as KERA and having visual kei bands wear their clothing as costumes. The brand had a high profile in the gothic & lolita scene.
ALGONQUINS had shops in LaForet Harajuku and several PARCO buildings. At their peak they managed 20 stores. In the fiscal year of July 2007, sales were 1.56 million yen. However, in recent years, due to intense competition and a decline in the visual kei boom, the company reported poor sales and started closing down many of its stores. In summer 2018, the LaForet Harajuku location closed which was the final location in Tokyo.
Even after that, the business situation did not improve. ALGONQUINS shut down their last store in Osaka’s Umeda district on January 20, 2019. Since then, all sales were online via the official webshop and other retailer sites, but management has reached their limit.
On 2/28, ALGONQUINS put their official site and Rakuten shop under maintenance. Their official site stated the website’s renewal was due in March. It’s safe to say that it won’t be renewed. According to Tokyo Fashion, the news of its closing became trending worldwide on Twitter last night.
Sad news for subculture lovers!! ?? Japanese gothic lolita fashion brand ALGONQUINS has filed for bankruptcy. Once popular in Harajuku subculture magazine KERA, and originally founded in 1987, the brand’s demise made the top 10 Twitter trends worldwide. https://t.co/YX8eTWyTCU pic.twitter.com/lWsT01GwXu— Tokyo Fashion (@TokyoFashion) March 6, 2019
An End of an Era?
Many Japanese fans are expressing concern over the end of goth and punk with the end of the Heisei era this year. With the closing of SEXY DYNAMITE LONDON, PEACE NOW, PUTUMAYO, monomania, things aren’t looking good for casual punk brands. Only a handful of gothic/punk brands remain and eyes are now particularly focused on the future of SeX POT ReVeNGe and h.NAOTO. Only time will tell how the future of Japanese alternative street fashion will look.
UPDATE: August 6, 2020
Japanese Punk Brand ALGONQUINS Makes Unexpected Comeback