Having spent some time in the delightful company of She’s called Claire (and you can read her interview with me here) I have been thinking a lot about vintage and how something inherently not new has brought something fresh and exciting to fashion. If you are into your vintage (and why wouldn’t you be) then definitely head on over to her blog and have a look at her vintage clothes project.
In the world of vintage shopping Tokyo excels at providing a lens to focus your tastes in on a specific style. Rather than the random selection process that the vast majority of shops seem to use in the West, Tokyo buyers are able to build a whole identity around their selection process which has given us shops like Grimoire, Dog and Spank! that are actually more iconic then brands that actually make clothes. Beyond that curating of their stock the next level of shops are those that actually provide a history of the items they stock (I have to say that Liberties vintage room is exceptionally good for this), but beyond that is a new level of vintage shopping best represented by Nigo of BAPE fame’s venture – Pass the Baton.
Their current project is a collaboration with Adidas Originals but the concept is the same across every item in the shops. Basically, accompanying each item is a description by the seller (or exhibitor as they call them) of the item and a little bit of the personal history and the story that led them to come to own and eventually sell the item. On top of that the seller has the option to donate a percentage of the sale to charity (up to 50%) and choose the cause it goes to.
Continue reading for some of my favorite picks from the line-up and a look inside their shops.
Now, the reason I like this particular concept is because I have always been a firm believer in donating your old clothes to charity because I think charity shops are an important institution that I would like to see given more presence in Japan. But also in slightly grandiose terms I am a fan of process art, or art where the creation of the object is art, rather than being limited to the resulting object.
Luckily in the case of the Adidas Originals project where a variety of artists and performers re-design classic Adidas shoes (mostly Stan Smiths), there is a good mix of shoes that qualify as art in themselves as well as those that need an understanding of the process that made them. You have shoes customed by the likes of Verbal next to filthy ones worn while helping survivors in disaster areas (complete with pictures of the artist wearing them etc).
All in all it is a great project to raise money for a good cause and the people involved reads like the best guest list in all of Tokyo. It is also a great example of this concept of vintage selling – admittedly it requires an internet presence to tell the story behind the item, but thankfully that is the world we live in these days.
Here are my picks from the trainer line-up:
The last one is my personal favorite – but that is just because I am a rabid Araki Hirohiko fan. For the record you can order anything from the site online and have it shipped abroad – so you have no reason not to get involved if something takes your fancy.
Elsewhere I thought I would select some of my favorite pieces from the site ranging from Hermes to antiques and lets be honest – tat. But it is all about the stories that accompany the items from the artists/stylists/celebs that have put them for sale that piques my interest. I should say that anyone can sell their stuff through Pass the Baton, but you have to submit it in person and tell them the full story of the item when you do. Enjoy:
There are two shops in Tokyo – one in the business hub of Maronouchi and the other in opulent Omotesando Hills. Quite incongruous locations, as is the boutique merchandising and architecture. But that is the genius of the shops (and Nigo) that by literally and geographically seperating the shop from the usual hubs of vintage they can attract a totally different clientele and exaggerate the concept.
I am not sure whether to classify this as art or fashion, but either way you should really add this to your rounds when you tour Tokyo. You are sure to be inspired, surprised and you might even buy something. Who knows, a couple of years later you might sell it and pass the proverbial baton on yourself…