Koenji is a a key area in Tokyo for vintage fashion. Last time I checked (ie, walked around softly cooing at Victorian lace blouses and classic rock & roll t-shirts), there were at least twenty-five of note. Not bad considering Koenji isn’t a shopping hub on a par with Shibuya or Harajuku. Nonetheless, in Koenji you’ll find quality as well as quantity.

Small Change is one of my favourites – at ground level you have classy men’s vintage wares (the aforementioned Ivy style being pretty popular, plus dashes of English country gent and internationally cool layabout), while a short walk up the stairs adorned with premium brand vintage dresses leaves you in the middle of neat rows of retro beauties and hand-picked modern items. Small Change, with it’s dark green walls and wooden fixtures brings to mind something of the baroque opulence of Grimoire (everyone’s antique doll favourite), but less overtly. In Small Change peacock feather bags sit calmly beside net hats, carved leather bags and 1940s sharp blazers. It’s effortlessly stylish, and their excellent blog features some pretty fantastic items.

When searching for images for this article, I got sort of obsessed with labels. Not in a ‘omg-must-have-designer’ way, but with the design and detail. Labels normally make me feel a bit sick (as do stickers – urgh!), but we’ve come to an understanding – they wont scratch me and I won’t tear them out of my clothes with a gusto that is normally only seen when I attack a bacon sandwich.  Read on for some informative highlights…

The straw ‘can can’ hat is a spring staple item – love the fake flowers on these beauties!

Two turn tables and a Guinness poster. Why a toucan would drink that foul stuff I have no idea.

Pucci style has been a huge deco trend for many a year – why not get your hands on an original print?

Isn’t the little leather side-part (technical name, anyone?) on the sunglasses just amazing?

The label above is from a trenchcoat – I’d like to think it was worn by a hard-nosed but well meaning rogue detective. With a drinking problem. And a dog.

The two stalwarts of vintage fashion in Japan – Levi’s & Gunne Sax.


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3 Responses to Tokyo Vintage: Small Change Koenji

  1. Lisa says:

    I aten’t dead, promise.
    Hoping to get back to reading TT more regularly, because I loooove your posts!
    It really feels like you could make some real finds in that place!
    I especially like the “Little Lisa” label; I was “little Lisa” (grandmother was “big Lisa”, cousin “middle Lisa”) for many years. ;P

    I’m with you on labels otherwise though – I love how a lot of them *look*, because they can often be interesting/beautiful designs in their own right but…yeah, they scratch, or flip up and stuff. :'(

  2. Tokyo Telephone says:

    I’m realllllly hoping that’ a Discworld reference in the first line! 😉 Don’t feel bad about it; I’ve been slacking in commenting recently, but I’ll catch up this weekend. Busy busy busy, right?

    Little Lisa, that’s so sweet! I think I used to be ‘No, the Other Rebecca’, haha!


  3. Lisa says:

    Yes, DW ref! Even though I’ve not read any of those books in years! Although not for any particular reason, hmmm….
    Busy busy busy indeed! I actually had to plan to have nothing planned this weekend, which is weird.

    Ouch! Well “the other one” is still better than many other options I suspect!!! o.O

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