Cali Thornhill DeWitt, who lives in Los Angeles, was wandering around Tokyo recently when he got a call from Kanye West. The rapper and fashion designer was preparing to debut his latest clothing collection, Yeezy Season 3, and his new album, The Life of Pablo, at Madison Square Garden during New York Fashion Week. So he wanted to talk to Thornhill DeWitt about a collaboration.
At the time, Cali was visiting Nakano Broadway, a multistory shopping complex in one of Tokyo’s most populous neighborhoods. Like something out of Blade Runner or an early William Gibson novel, the mall evokes the recent past’s notions of what our dingy, dystopian future might look like. Its floors are crammed with video arcades, action-figure dispensaries, vintage-streetwear shops, and other tiny warrens catering to every flavor of nerdy obsession. Nakano Broadway is out on the subcultural fringes—an improbable, though not entirely inappropriate, place for Kanye to have tracked down Cali.