Op shops have seen a great resurgence in recent years, and with the growing popularity of things like clothing swaps and markets, it’s never been cooler to buy second hand. The fashionistas of Tokyo have, as always, taken it one step further, and have entire stores dedicated to second hand designer clothing. Mainly located in youth fashion suburbs like Harajuku and Shibuya, they stock everything from Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Kenzo, to European designers like Chanel and Prada, all at unbeatable prices.
As most stores only accept items in good condition, you don’t have to worry about quality. Most items in the stores are only worn for a season or two, and then sold by the ultra-trendy Tokyoites so they can buy the latest season must-haves. And it’s not just clothes, with bags, belts, shoes and jewellery making up a large percentage of stock. While investigating I found Balenciaga knitwear for around $100AUD, Commes des Garcon jackets for $250AUD, Vivienne Westwood handbags for $200AUD and Chloe tops for $50AUD. Good news for all the stylish gentleman out there, most places have a men’s section every bit as varied and affordable as the women’s.
So if you’re in Tokyo, head for Ragtag in Shibuya for three floors of pristine designer clothing for men and women. Spacious and well-staffed, this was the clear winner of all the stores I visited, and with another shop in Harajuku you are guaranteed to find something you like.
Used Brand Store in Harajuku has a lot of Marc Jacobs, as well as many high end boutique brands. It’s a bit cramped, but definitely worth a look if you’re in the area.
For funky street wear head to Chicago, with three branches in Harajuku alone. The biggest is on Cat Street, just down from Used Brand Store, and it’s huge. First floor is men’s, second floor is women’s, and you’ll find old military uniforms, cowboy boots, retro fur coats and more tartan skirts than you could shake a stick at. A great place for basics, as well as some great vintage finds to flesh out your wardrobe, all at amazingly low prices.
If you’re into alternative fashion then Closet Child is your must-stop shop. It has branches in Harajuku, Shinjuku and Ikebukuru, all stocking premium gothic, lolita and punk brands. Cramped but with a huge range, the Harajuku store is the biggest, with three floors packed full of bargains.