Designer Vintage Bags for $3!?
Hey there, it's Jacquie!
Yes, that wasn't a typo! Vintage designer bags in Japan for only $3!
Are you serious?
They're called 'Recycle Shops' or as Aussies would call 'Op shops', and they are a vintage and fashion lovers paradise. One thing I learned while living in Japan is that the Japanese generally take very good care of their belongings. Another thing is that the Japanese absolutely love their designer brands. For many, the prestige attached to owning a designer bag means more than living in a larger apartment. This has it's benefits for expats like me who may not be able to afford the latest LV, but will be just as happy with a vintage piece for a fraction of the price.
Are They Fake?
Japan has very stringent laws against counterfeit goods but you still do need to take extra care when purchasing. It can be a hit or miss, as is the case for many places all over the world, but more often than not you will find treasure troves if you go to the right places at the right time.
Where can I find the best Vintage Bags?
Areas like Koenji and Shimokitazawa (Tokyo) are known for their vintage shops. As vintage has become more and more popular, you will find the prices to be higher than lesser known suburbs with fewer recycle shops.
As with many things in life, luck is the name of the game when going treasure hunting in Tokyo. Some of my best finds were from the hidden pockets of Tokyo run by mostly semi-retirees who may be less vintage savvy than your average Op shop in central Tokyo. The best day to buy would be Monday morning as most people sell their goods on the weekend in Tokyo.
My 3 Personal Recommendations are:
1. Owls Recycle Shop (Asagaya) http://www.r-b-owl.com/ - This is where I bought my first vintage designer Gucci 1990's Kelly bag for $60!
2. Mode Off (Kichijoji) - http://www.hardoff.co.jp/shop/kanto/tokyo/modeoff/104003/ - A chain store you can find in a large number of suburbs in Tokyo. They usually have a huge selection of bags for $3, both vintage and non-vintage in their discount bins. I bought my first vintage designer Chanel square 1980's chain bag for only $150 at the Kichijoji store.
3. Tigress (Mejiro) http://www.tigress.org/office_mejiro.html - I have yet to buy a bag from this place but I did purchase a brand new set of vintage Ferragamo pumps for $100 which most vintage lovers would agree is a steel!