Harajuku, Koenji, Osaka – Everlasting Model

By News Author

Harajuku, Koenji, Osaka – Everlasting Model

News Author

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 vogue 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 turn out to be so standard 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 vogue of genuine band T-shirts and black Levi’s.

Folks purchase classic for plenty of causes they usually don’t essentially overlap. These embody value, 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 can 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 huge 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 typically has a speciality, whether or not it’s navy lifeless inventory or grungier types operating 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 a fantastic eye, however is a good private shopper too – a number of the greatest issues Alex [Natt, photographer] and I purchased have been his solutions. 

Berbejin – The most effective identified, and normally busy. A spread 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 give attention to older Americana and denim. Plus some deadstock on the right-hand facet. 

2nd Avenue by Jumble Retailer – 2nd Avenue is a sequence of second-hand retailers, most of that are extra fashion-orientated and trendy. However the downstairs of the Harajuku department is admittedly 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 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 bought an previous pale yellow Harrington for about £65 (although keep in mind the trade price is nice proper now.)

Banana Boat – Good for lifeless 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 lifeless 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 turn out to be uber-popular, they have been very costly – £700 and over. 


Koenji looks 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 purchasing space and the streets round. Although a stunning quantity, like Whistler, are additionally three or 4 streets away, nearly as in the event that they need to be exhausting to seek 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 record 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 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 – A bit of 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 study your complete historical past of American footwear by shopping these cabinets; Alex purchased a fantastic pair of unbranded demi-boot moccasins. Ensure you go upstairs too (separate entrance): that’s the place I discovered my 40s chinos. 

Trunk – Largely 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 an internet store too

Large Time – A sequence, 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 primary strip right here: massive, rambling however price sorting by means of. 

Small Change – Just like Large Time: males’s and ladies’s, a bit patchy, but in addition cheaper and with a wide array. 

Oh and in case 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 huge pre-owned clothes is in Japan. In some areas there have been nearly 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 house 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 fashion 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 below 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 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 alternative, nearly. 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 fashion, in situation, in value) and rewarded going by means of rack after rack. 

JAM – One of many new-era locations, however that does imply it’s low-cost and there’s a wide selection. For those who’re desirous about extra trendy items (made-in-America Carhartts for instance) it’s price 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 special, 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 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 offered and curated. It looks like a daily outside 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, 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 be capable to do it.

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