Harajuku, Koenji, Osaka – Everlasting Type

There are extra classic retailers in Japan than anyplace else. Significantly 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 recent pre-owned retailers. And even someplace small like Kobe across the bay has higher classic than London. 

Classic has develop into so well-liked that it’s more and more specialised. In Ginza, the luxurious space of Tokyo, there are a number of retailers promoting pre-owned purses, one of the vital 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 plenty of causes they usually don’t essentially overlap. These embrace worth, entry, historic significance, uniqueness, high quality and character. The nice factor is that in Japan you’re feeling every section is catered for; it’s a educated market, so discovering an absolute cut price isn’t straightforward, however what you need will probably be there someplace. 

Beneath are the three areas we centered 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 massive manufacturers and teenage fashions, which is barely complicated, significantly given the neighbourhood’s hectic pedestrianised streets. 

Some like Berbejin are well-known, others like Jumble much less so, nevertheless it’s price persisting – every usually has a speciality, whether or not it’s navy useless inventory or grungier types operating from Nineteen 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 a terrific eye, however is a superb private shopper too – a number of the greatest issues Alex [Natt, photographer] and I purchased have been his strategies. 

Berbejin – Among the best identified, and normally busy. A variety of Americana, navy and sports-wear, 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 deal with 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 fairly priced: I picked up a pale-pink rayon jacket for £90. As elsewhere, the costliest 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 acquired an outdated light yellow Harrington for about £65 (although keep in mind the change price is nice proper now.)

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

Laboratory – Good for band T-shirts, and fairly a grungy choice total – trendy upstairs, older downstairs (as is usually the best way). A bit of 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 develop into uber-popular, they have 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 normally make the journey). Extra like a spot for the purists.

A lot of the retailers are scattered across the space to the south of the prepare station, within the coated procuring 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 wish to be exhausting to search out. 

There’s a lot classic right here – significantly someplace like Whistler – that it’s price reminding your self prematurely 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 fascinating sun shades) and use that to focus, but in addition be open to inspiration, searching and flicking and customarily staying open-minded. As I’ve written earlier than, I usually discover that probably the most satisfying facet of classic. 

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

  • Safari 1, the most effective and what most individuals would name classic
  • Safari 2, extra trendy American, Ralph Lauren and so forth
  • Safari 3, European basic menswear and tailoring
  • Safari 4, up to date, trainers and out of doors/climbing clothes
  • Safari 5, European and designer labels
  • And Safari Gallery, antiques, furnishings and artwork

Whistler – A bit of little bit of a stroll away, Whistler specialises in American clothes and has an incredible vary of footwear. As one shoemaker put it, he might study the complete historical past of American footwear by searching these cabinets; Alex purchased a terrific pair of unbranded demi-boot moccasins. Be sure 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

Huge Time – A series, with branches round Japan. As their on-line store exhibits, it’s additionally fairly up to date in most locations, however the Koenji department is extra classic and typical of locations on the principle strip right here: giant, rambling however price sorting via. 

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

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


Procuring in Osaka opened my eyes to how massive 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 best way youthful folks wore classic, too, was inspiring – mixing unusual militaria with noughties designer labels for instance. It introduced residence how a lot second-hand clothes permits folks to specific 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 type and uniqueness, reasonably than high quality or significance, and whereas actually fascinating, it gained’t be what most readers are after. What we listing listed here are the exceptions. 

Acorn – Merely probably the most high-end, curated classic store I’ve ever been to. Not a lot of items on show – maybe 200 – however probably the most sought-after variations of every thing. Three M65s, in three completely different sizes, all completely light; 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 other, 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 type, in situation, in worth) and rewarded going via rack after rack. 

JAM – One of many new-era locations, however that does imply it’s low-cost and there’s a wide array. Should you’re occupied with extra trendy items (made-in-America Carhartts for instance) it’s price a glance. 

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

XXX (from Alex) – An enthralling store in Kobe, with a number of ranges. The mid-level has an fascinating 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 ground has a wider vary – none of it pre-Sixties, however once more a wide variety. 

As to what I purchased, other than 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 worth. And I do know Cromford will be capable of do it.

I’m certain all will seem on PS sooner or later, and we are able to discuss then in regards to 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 ideas – 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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