Harajuku, 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 into so common that it’s more and more specialised. In Ginza, the luxury 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.

Individuals purchase classic for many causes and so they don’t essentially overlap. These embrace value, entry, historic significance, uniqueness, high quality and character. The nice factor is that in Japan you are 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 way in which. 


In Harajuku the classic is combined in amongst massive 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, however it’s price persisting – every typically has a speciality, whether or not it’s navy lifeless inventory or grungier kinds working from Nineteen Forties leathers to Nineties metallic.

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 amazing eye, however is a superb private shopper too – a number of the finest issues Alex [Natt, photographer] and I purchased have been his solutions. 

Berbejin – Top-of-the-line identified, and normally busy. A spread of Americana, navy and sports-wear, however a great, pretty high-end choice. The navy stuff is on the again, the uncommon denim downstairs.

Faux 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 series of second-hand retailers, most of that are extra fashion-orientated and trendy. However the downstairs of the Harajuku department is de facto good, with good items fairly 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 series, 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 bought an previous pale yellow Harrington for about £65 (although keep in mind the trade price is sweet proper now.)

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

Laboratory – Good for band T-shirts, and fairly a grungy choice total – trendy upstairs, older downstairs (as is commonly the way in which). Somewhat 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 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 stunning 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 price reminding your self prematurely what you’re there for. Personally I discover it useful to have a small hit record of (for me, 40s US chinos, a rayon jacket, some attention-grabbing sun shades) and use that to focus, but additionally be open to inspiration, searching and flicking and usually staying open-minded. As I’ve written earlier than, I typically discover that essentially the most satisfying facet of classic. 

Safari – Safari is the perfect identified of the classic retailers in Koenji, however is definitely six retailers, every with totally different specialities:

  • Safari 1, the perfect 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, up to date, trainers and outside/mountaineering clothes
  • Safari 5, European and designer labels
  • And Safari Gallery, antiques, furnishings and artwork

Whistler – Somewhat little bit of a stroll away, Whistler specialises in American clothes and has a tremendous vary of footwear. As one shoemaker put it, he might be taught the whole historical past of American footwear by searching these cabinets; Alex purchased an amazing 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 combined in with Hermes leather-based. A very nice curation. 

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

Huge Time – A sequence, with branches round Japan. As their on-line store reveals, 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 by way of. 

Small Change – Much like Huge Time: males’s and girls’s, a bit patchy, but additionally cheaper and with a wide array. 

Oh and should you go to Koenji then do pop into Terry Ellis’ store, Mogi, which mixes new and previous clothes with folks 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 whole 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 precise themselves, as a result of there are such a lot of eras and kinds. 

Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of outlets in Osaka promote what some name ‘new period’ classic – broadly from the Eighties onwards. It’s principally for type and uniqueness, fairly than high quality or significance, and whereas actually attention-grabbing, it gained’t be what most readers are after. What we record listed here are the exceptions. 

Acorn – Merely essentially the most high-end, curated classic store I’ve ever been to. Not a lot of items on show – maybe 200 – however essentially the most sought-after variations of every part. Three M65s, in three totally 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 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 value) and rewarded going by way of 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 case you’re considering 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 unique, 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 should you’re in Kobe. 

Junk Store – 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 open air store till you discover most issues are classic. The highest ground has a wider vary – none of it pre-Nineteen 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 have the ability to do it.

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

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


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.