While the majority of Japanese clothing stores sport relatively similar fashion and stick to the popular trends, Japanese thrift stores offer a variety of fun and quirky items from miscellaneous generations.
Compared to the United States, second hand stores are much more common and popular here in Japan. There are fairly cheap donation store chains like Family King, which is similar to Goodwill in the States, but there are also stores that sell exclusively high-end, designer items. In addition, there are chains like 2nd Street and Tin Pan Alley, which buy and sell designer and vintage goods. Second-hand shops like these are fairly priced, offer good quality and undamaged items, and have made eco-friendly and responsible shopping accessible to everyone. Besides donation and resale chains, there are also trendy, yet pricey boutiques (mostly in the city) which sell vintage (and often American) clothing. These stores are strictly curated to fit their aesthetic, and offer good quality, rare, fun, retro, and sometimes up-cycled pieces. Even in small cities far from Tokyo like Hamamatsu, you are bound to find a couple of these stylish vintage shops, in addition to the usual chain recycle stores.
In contrast to the United States, where thrifting has only recently become trendy again due to environmental efforts and the rising popularity of Y2K and retro fashion, shopping second-hand in Japan is widely common. Even large non-recycle fashion brands like We-Go have “Used” sections in their stores. The popularity and abundance of thrift stores in Japan is no surprise considering their consciousness of the environment and unique fashion scene.
If you are ever in Japan and are hoping to find some fun, vintage, and one-of-a-kind pieces, while supporting the environment, I highly recommend checking out the Japanese recycle shop scene.
Author: Akiko Anna Iwata
DeclarASIAN Blog Contributor