Tucked away in the same building as Grimoire, Itazura and Wagado in Shibuya is a new addition to the Tokyo vintage shopping landscape that since its launch late last year has quickly become an institution to rival the biggest names in Japanese vintage fashion. As with most of the finest Tokyo vintage boutiques the true success lies in the creation of a new style through re-interpretation of existing foreign styles. In short, just as brands like Facetasm do on the catwalk, shops like Qosmos gathers influences from vintage from around the world, and channels it in a new way to create a genuinely new fashion. In exceptional cases this can even create new terminology such as Dolly-Kei or Cult Party-Kei that enters into common fashion vocabulary, but there are few shops that do not in some way contribute something new back to Japanese fashion, whether it later ends up as an influence on the catwalk or spends its days on the street.
So what does Qosmos create with its selection of the world of vintage it has at its disposal? Owner Yosuke Tsuyuguchi clearly has a soft-spot for sub-cultures, secret societies and in particular the visual language that connects them, as he gave us a tour of the shop he pulls out hand-printed t-shirts covered with underground band imagery and political slogans from San Francisco, Masonic jackets complete with the previous owners name and rank sown into the lining, army jackets strewn with squad patches, robes of the clergy and Hells Angels leather vests taken over with identifying artwork. His is a path into the outsiders of society, their symbols, the clothes that define them, the ceremonies they conduct and the sense of mystery and grandeur that surrounds them. In a word, this is “cult” fashion.
Sitting well with these gathering of cultish symbolism is the colour palette of dirty grays, muddy browns sludgy greens and burnt reds that will always coordinate absolutely effortlessly. It is a path into timeless cool well-trodden by Tokyo brands like 14th Addiction, Kmrii, Share Spirit and LGB whose work too reflects the need to be both an aesthetic not tied to a given point, but with details that are firmly rooted in a given moment of time or sub-culture.
In order to let this one sink in, in this first part we are going to stay away from individual details and motifs, and just let the colours and mood sink in before we pick out the individual items in part two tomorrow.
The shop is pleasantly dim, packed with worn wood and textures softened by time.
It is the kind of atmosphere that would suit a smoky fug well – I can almost smell the rich spiced tabacco already.
Mixed in with the vintage are a good amount of original items, mostly hand-made leather items.
Ever wondered where all of the gorgeous vintage leather jackets in the smaller sizes end up? Yes Japan has long since extracted them.
Quality vintage leather, freshly oiled and treated before they are put on sale.
The cosmos that the shop is named after – a world of style united.
Thus cultures, religions, cults, traditions all brought together in one place, from there into one person and by that virtue, transcended.
The owner and I looking through some rare t-shirts that are kept behind the counter.
The very cool owner, who shares my own love of brass and silver jewelry.
Come back tomorrow for part two where I can promise you individual items in all their glory, which will hopefully complete the Qosmos concept.