Located a stones throw away from Kabukicho in East Shinjuku Closet Child stocks the usual V-Kei and J-Rock merchandise, but as of this year they have started to stock Men’s Brands as well. And by Men’s brands I don’t mean the Harajuku brands that Closet Child is synonymous with, this shop is mainly focused on 109-2 and OIOI brands. Indeed to clarify their stock I think I would define it as anything you would wear on the streets and in the clubs of Kabukicho. In short – what I mainly wear.
The shop itself is a tidy treasure trove of vintage clothes, outlet stock and old stock. The reason this place is worth a visit is three-fold. Firstly, as this is mostly used clothes for some reason this means that the usual laws of Japanese sales do not apply – that is the staff will only bother you if you specifically ask them for help. This can be a great change of pace from the very friendly (and slightly pushy) shop staff in 109-2 and gives you a chance to actually browse the hundreds of items on offer.
Secondly the price. In the age of recession and sky-high yen it is definitely a relief to be able to dress well and cheaply. So this place with outlet and old stock can yield some extreme bargains, and the used stock is obviously a fraction of the price of 109-2 and OIOI brands. The jeans are generally 3800 yen and jackets around the 5000 yen mark (so about a quarter of the new price). In the world of Gyaru-O fashion, the reoccurring themes are pretty much the same season on season – fitted jackets, ripped jeans, check shirts etc. So it is never that obvious that items are from old season and given that most jeans are artificially damaged to begin with, the fact that they are old is hardly apparent! For the record all the items I have ever got from Closet Child have been in perfect condition and freshly dry-cleaned so they never “seem” old.
Thirdly, and for me most importantly, it allows for an appreciation of the history of men’s street fashion. Here you can buy vintage Roen or Tornado Mart jeans from seasons past that you could literally not buy anywhere else short of Yahoo Auctions. There are even items that are more expensive second hand than they would have been new, so rare Dior or Mastermind designs that are now highly collectible can be picked up if you can afford the price of admission. For me it was great to see some of the really old Fuga designs, when the brand was a little more punk that it is today. If anything it is like a museum of Gyaru-O and 109-2 fashion!
Vintage Fuga Jacket
So if you are on a budget or just a fan of the history of fashion this Closet Child in Shinjuku is well worth your time. Come to think of it it is to my mind the only second hand shop of this kind of men’s fashion in the world (please prove me wrong) but given the way Japanese vintage fashion is going I strongly suspect it won’t be the last.