Her career with Danish fashion brands like Mille K and Plus Fine was going well and her collections were bestsellers all over Scandinavia. Yet, last year Gitte Pedersen quit her job as a fashion designer and became a personal shopper in Tokyo.
“Moving was a challenge—especially for the kids—but Tokyo is a great city and I don’t regret it for a second,” says Pedersen.
Metropolis catches up with Pedersen at a coffee shop, where she’s meeting her client, Mia Burman [pictured right], for a cup of coffee before a shopping expedition in Omotesando. Pedersen, who wears a knitted poncho of her own design, a dusty pink scarf and dark beige fedora, looks like a mix between Greta Garbo and Sienna Miller.
Since staring her business Awardope last year, Pedersen is now working on a variety of assignments with women of all ages. She is hired to shop for everything from clothing to shoes to more personal items. “A lot of my clients are expat women with children and many of them are trying to find a new style,” comments Pedersen. “After childbirth, their bodies have changed and they don’t feel they can dress in the same way as they used to.” The diverse people she works with all have different needs, from workwear to special-occasion outfits.
First, she meets with clients to define their personal style and what they’re looking for in terms of fashion. She also advises on what’s “in,” and how to incorporate their style with the season. “My clients often feel as if they have got a whole new wardrobe, when all we do is to buy some complements and find new ways to wear the clothes they already have,” says Pedersen.
Tips from the Pro
- Mix edgy materials like washed denim or leather with soft silks, cashmere or laces. It’s about giving the whole outfit a balance
- Spice up or bring down your outfit with accessories (ballerina dress with biker shoes…)
- Keep order in your wardrobe to have a better overview of what you have
- Work out what colors suit you, and try to stay within the same color scale
- Always wear a nice nail polish, try something fun and colorful for the summer
Why did you choose to work as a personal shopper in Tokyo?
Personal shopping is about helping people enhance their personal style. Styling people is also a natural part of being a designer. As a chief designer I was a part of the fitting, the photo session, creation of the sets and the overall look. When I work as a personal shopper I do the same thing—I create a look.
How would you describe your style?
I change style day by day. If I put on a T-shirt and jeans, I also add a lot of accessories to give it a stronger look. I like to combine materials like silk, leather, or cashmere, and to combine the feminine, elegant and soft with a tough, rough style.
Favorite shops in Tokyo?
I really like the big concept stores like Isetan and Estnation, because of the selection and wide variety. Some specific shops are Helmut Lang in Minami-Ayoama, and the Chanel shop in Omotesando—it’s just glam. For vintage I usually go to Shibyua, Shinjuku or Azuba-juban and Hiroo. You can find both high-end and budget items there. You need to come back and look several times, since lineups are changing. Recently I found the most beautiful kimono in Nippori fabric market. Kio in Hiroo is a little vintage shop where you can find complementary dresses, bags and accessories. Another one I really like is Biotop, a concept boutique with flowers, perfume, accessories and clothes. The atmosphere is fantastic and it’s a good mix between minimalist and bohemian design.
I love the Danish designer Benedikte Utzon, she is good with leather and fur, and Zadic and Voltaire for their edgy details. Jimmy Choo is fantastic with bags and shoes, but there are so many to choose from… I like Tsumori Chisato’s dreamy and girly universe, I love to mix her items with something more edgy, like rock-and-roll style items. Comme des Garçon is another brand that’s fun in an arty way. It doesn’t fit the mainstream customer but it’s really inspiring.
What have you learned from Japanese street fashion?
I love the way you can be inspired from the sub-cultures, there are so many fun and edgy Japanese people. They are really good at putting things together in an innovative and inspiring way, mixing fabrics and styles, etc. Japanese women are also great with shoes, they often use funky shoes with a lot of detail. But a definite “don’t” is big shoes with short skirts—sometimes it’s not too flattering.
What has struck you most about shopping here?
People say it’s difficult to shop in Tokyo, but it’s not. It’s like a candy store. You have to give your shopping some time and you’ll find a lot—even for a small budget. Don’t forget to look for small boutiques, secondhand and vintages shops. Here you’ll find fun and personal clothes and accessories.
What style is “in” this summer?
For the summer I like hazel and pastel colors and soft fabrics, a vintage and bohemian look with your hair down. Things like lace or a simple black dress are beautiful and retro is also cool, like a feeling from the ’70s at the beach—romantic and fun. Mulberry is an inspiration for this summer season. I would love to buy some of their clothes for myself!
Follow Gitte on Facebook here.