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HomeFashionHarajuku, Koenji, Osaka – Everlasting Type

Harajuku, Koenji, Osaka – Everlasting Type

There are extra classic retailers in Japan than anyplace else. Notably in Harajuku, the style space of Tokyo, and in Koenji, a district about 40 minutes from the centre. 

However elsewhere too – Osaka, historically a style centre in Japan, has high-end locations like Acorn in addition to scores of contemporary pre-owned retailers. And even someplace small like Kobe across the bay has higher classic than London. 

Classic has turn out to be so widespread that it’s more and more specialised. In Ginza, the luxury space of Tokyo, there are a number of retailers promoting pre-owned purses, probably the most spectacular being Allu, which has 5 flooring of Hermes and Chanel. In Harajuku, the Berbejin group opened a brand new retailer simply to cater to the nineties style of genuine band T-shirts and black Levi’s.

Folks purchase classic for many causes and so they don’t essentially overlap. These embody worth, entry, historic significance, uniqueness, high quality and character. The nice factor is that in Japan you’re feeling every phase is catered for; it’s a educated market, so discovering an absolute cut price isn’t simple, however what you need might be there someplace. 

Beneath are the three areas we targeted on throughout our go to – Harajuku, Koenji and Osaka – with the favorite retailers in every, plus some observations alongside the best way. 


In Harajuku the classic is blended in amongst large manufacturers and teenage fashions, which is barely complicated, notably given the neighbourhood’s hectic pedestrianised streets. 

Some like Berbejin are well-known, others like Jumble much less so, nevertheless it’s value persisting – every typically has a speciality, whether or not it’s navy useless inventory or grungier types working from Forties leathers to Nineteen Nineties steel.

I ought to say that we owe a debt to Ethan Newton who confirmed us spherical a few of his favourites. It seems Ethan doesn’t simply have an excellent eye, however is a superb private shopper too – among the finest issues Alex [Natt, photographer] and I purchased had been his ideas. 

Berbejin – Among the finest identified, and often busy. A spread of Americana, navy and sportswear, however , pretty high-end choice. The navy stuff is on the again, the uncommon denim downstairs.

Pretend Alpha – A part of the identical group, however with extra of a concentrate on older Americana and denim. Plus some deadstock on the right-hand aspect. 

2nd Road by Jumble Retailer – 2nd Road is a sequence of second-hand retailers, most of that are extra fashion-orientated and trendy. However the downstairs of the Harajuku department is absolutely good, with good items moderately priced: I picked up a pale-pink rayon jacket for £90. As elsewhere, the most costly and rarest items are those hanging from the ceiling. 

Pigsty – Additionally a sequence, and the one we went to in Osaka wasn’t nice. However this one, in Harajuku, was higher. Like Jumble, it’s barely cheaper than the likes of Berbejin however with some good items. I obtained an previous pale yellow Harrington for about £65 (although keep in mind the change charge is sweet proper now.)

Banana Boat – Good for useless inventory: classic clothes that has by no means been worn. There’s another classic too, nevertheless it’s largely high-end. The actual fact every part is in plastic wrapping (like a comic-book retailer) is a useless giveaway. 

Laboratory – Good for band T-shirts, and fairly a grungy choice general – trendy upstairs, older downstairs (as is usually the best way). Slightly cheaper than Berbejin and its kin, however the product isn’t as pristine both. 

Vostok – I discovered some actually good issues final time I used to be right here, again in 2019, however there was much less this time round. There have been some good Levi’s, although as with most classes which have turn out to be uber-popular, they had been very costly – £700 and over. 


Koenji seems like an actual Japanese neighbourhood – much less affluent, with the one vacationers right here for classic (although even they don’t often make the journey). Extra like a spot for the purists.

Many of the retailers are scattered across the space to the south of the practice station, within the lined buying space and the streets round. Although a shocking quantity, like Whistler, are additionally three or 4 streets away, virtually as in the event that they need to be arduous to search out. 

There’s a lot classic right here – notably someplace like Whistler – that it’s value reminding your self upfront what you’re there for. Personally I discover it useful to have a small hit listing of (for me, 40s US chinos, a rayon jacket, some attention-grabbing sun shades) and use that to focus, but in addition be open to inspiration, shopping and flicking and customarily staying open-minded. As I’ve written earlier than, I typically discover that probably the most pleasing side of classic. 

Safari – Safari is the very best identified of the classic retailers in Koenji, however is definitely six retailers, every with completely different specialities:

  • Safari 1, the very best and what most individuals would name classic
  • Safari 2, extra trendy American, Ralph Lauren and many others
  • Safari 3, European basic menswear and tailoring
  • Safari 4, modern, trainers and outside/mountaineering clothes
  • Safari 5, European and designer labels
  • And Safari Gallery, antiques, furnishings and artwork

Whistler – Slightly little bit of a stroll away, Whistler specialises in American clothes and has a tremendous vary of footwear. As one shoemaker put it, he may study the whole historical past of American footwear by shopping these cabinets; Alex purchased an excellent pair of unbranded demi-boot moccasins. Ensure you go upstairs too (separate entrance): that’s the place I discovered my 40s chinos. 

Trunk – Principally European, actual classic to trendy, so looking jackets blended in with Hermes leather-based. A very nice curation. 

Suntrap – Fairly high-end, with some new clothes alongside classic Americana. Unusually, they’ve a web based store too

Massive Time – A series, with branches round Japan. As their on-line store exhibits, it’s additionally fairly modern in most locations, however the Koenji department is extra classic and typical of locations on the primary strip right here: massive, rambling however value sorting by. 

Small Change – Just like Massive Time: males’s and girls’s, somewhat patchy, but in addition cheaper and with a wide range. 

Oh and in case you go to Koenji then do pop into Terry Ellis’ store, Mogi, which mixes new and previous clothes with people artwork. Function on that coming individually.


Procuring in Osaka opened my eyes to how large pre-owned clothes is in Japan. In some areas there have been virtually nothing however second-hand retailers, and there was one total alleyway with tiny specialist locations.

The way in which youthful folks wore classic, too, was inspiring – mixing unusual militaria with noughties designer labels for instance. It introduced dwelling how a lot second-hand clothes permits folks to precise themselves, as a result of there are such a lot of eras and types. 

Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of outlets in Osaka promote what some name ‘new period’ classic – broadly from the Nineteen Eighties onwards. It’s largely for model and uniqueness, reasonably than high quality or significance, and whereas actually attention-grabbing, it received’t be what most readers are after. What we listing listed below are the exceptions. 

Acorn – Merely probably the most high-end, curated classic store I’ve ever been to. Not numerous items on show – maybe 200 – however probably the most sought-after variations of every part. Three M65s, in three completely different sizes, all completely pale; 5 pairs of big-E Levi’s in unusually wearable sizes and situation; ditto three French moleskin workwear jackets; ditto sun-faded hoodies; and so forth.

Nats – The alternative, virtually. Throughout the road from Acorn, an enormous place with 1000’s of things within the again (above). This nonetheless isn’t thrift, however the vary is a lot bigger (in model, in situation, in worth) and rewarded going by rack after rack. 

JAM – One of many new-era locations, however that does imply it’s low-cost and there’s a wide array. In the event you’re enthusiastic about extra trendy items (made-in-America Carhartts for instance) it’s value a glance. 

Magnets – Kobe and Osaka are primarily one metropolis, because the business is so unfold alongside the coast, however the streets of Kobe have a unique, extra seaside really feel. This little classic store is run by an ex-McCoys worker and is very nice; not value travelling for, however definitely popping into in case you’re in Kobe. 

XXX (from Alex) – A captivating store in Kobe, with a number of ranges. The mid-level has an attention-grabbing mixture of eras of outside clothes, properly introduced and curated. It seems like an everyday outdoor store till you discover most issues are classic. The highest flooring has a wider vary – none of it pre-Sixties, however once more a wide variety. 

As to what I purchased, aside from the 2 jackets and chinos talked about, there have been two pairs of denims – one 90s and low-cost, one 60s and costly – a pair of Ray-Ban aviators and a forties suede jacket. The latter was from Safari and can want some restore work, however that meant it was half the value. And I do know Cromford will have the ability to do it.

I’m certain all will seem on PS in some unspecified time in the future, and we are able to speak then concerning the ins and outs of them. 

Within the meantime if anybody has any questions on this listing – I’ve had dozens of messages already from folks wanting suggestions – please simply let me know within the feedback beneath. 


The nice denims – behind glass – at Safari 1
Upstairs at Whistler
Trunk in Koenji
Nats in Osaka
Alex being requested to pose in Omotesando


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