Header image courtesy of Tokyo Fashion
While the Japanese weren’t the pioneers of vintage culture, they have certainly made a huge contribution to its development by blending it with designer brands and refining the style with quite a bit of DIY to give a more personalised and customised look. Another upside of buying vintage and second-hand clothes is that you are actually upcycling old clothes and making fashion products more sustainable.
Koenji (高円寺) and Kichijoji (吉祥寺) are two of the best places in Tokyo to find vintage clothing. Here are our top five recommendations of where you will most likely find what you are looking for, be it hidden gems or retro styles.
Located on one of the most popular shopping streets in Koenji, Ambitious is a favourite hang-out for high schoolers who are looking for vintage, US, or retro editions of Levi’s 501 and 507, Supreme, Stüssy, and Patagonia. Ambitious is also an official seller of Vans, which means you can easily find the newest and latest sneakers and slip-on from the brand, plus its crossover and special editions. If you are an avid fan of these big brand names, you are going to have fun!
Ambitious, 4-29-14, Koenjiminami, Suginami, Tokyo | (+81) 03 3317 5750
There is no way that you can miss this colourful corner shop located at Kitakore Building. Hayatochiri specialises in anime-inspired and colourful menswear that is created by repurposing and remaking vintage clothing, making all of the items in the shop unique and one-of-a-kind. It also features clothing and accessories designed by experimental brands in Japan and Asia, so you will definitely have no problem finding something you like if you are a fan of outrageous and mind-blowing fashion designs. Even celebrities like Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams, and Jeremy Scott have shopped at Hayatochiri!
Hayatochiri, 3-4-11 Koenjikita, Suginami, Tokyo | (+81) 03 5327 5330
Established in 2003, Peep Cheep is a cosy shop that is packed with women’s vintage clothes, antique accessories, and sundry items from the 1940s to 1960s. The shop is only a four-minute walk from the south exit of the Koenji station and you can easily spot its pastel purple and turquoise façade from a distance. Aside from an array of vintage items, the shop also offers remade pieces that the owner designed and customised leather items.
Peep Cheep, 2/F, 4-24-4 Koenjikita, Suginami, Tokyo | (+81) 03 3314 5725
Having been in business for almost 50 years, the two-storey Western is the perfect place for denim lovers. Aside from offering vintage and limited-edition jeans from classic US brands such as Lee, Levi’s (especially 501), and Wrangle, it also showcases a collection of local and foreign jeans, including Evisu and Saint James. Even though it might take you some time to search through everything, it will definitely be worth your while!
Western, 1-1-3 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo | (+81) 04 2222 6172
Founded in 1996, Zootie specialises in premium European vintage clothes and accessories from the 1940s to 1970s. It carries both men’s and women’s fashion that are mainly imported from the UK, France, Italy, and Germany. Aside from the usual hot items like trench coats and English floral print dresses, you can also find classics such as Tootal scarves, Ascot ties, and even vintage buttons. While you are there, remember to also check out Zootie’s own brand “Zootie Style of Europe”
Zootie, 2 -26-12 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo | (+81) 04 2222 3290