Americana Fashion in Tokyo11:33:00 AM
Strange as it may sound, no one does vintage Americana menswear better than the Japanese. Walking around the streets of Tokyo's fashion district you find brands like Schott, Avirex, RRL, The Real McCoy's, and hundreds of vintage shops like Santa Monica and Counter Action Garage all celebrating classic Americana.
While we have RRL and other brands here in the US, they generally don't have as wide a selection as stores in Japan. Most brands have created spaces that feel more like a high end men's club than a retail store. Featuring leather jackets, motorcycles, cool furniture, and antiques that help create an atmosphere that makes you expect to see Steve McQueen hanging out in one of the lounge chairs.
The one thing you should be aware of is that these guys take their dressing very seriously, there is no halfway dressing up in Japan, if you are wearing a vintage biker jacket you may as well go full Marlon Brando from the Wild Ones. If you like western wear, it's denim and wool even when it is 90 degrees out with 100% humidity.
Just know if you are like me and walk in wearing shorts and a tee shirt or anything other than a period correct costume you might get ignored at some stores. Working in the apparel industry myself, with a focus on vintage Americana, I have a pretty large vintage collection myself. But it was really hot most of the days I was in Tokyo and jeans, cowboy boots, and a leather jacket seemed like it was overkill. So being a vintage nerd, one of the stores on my list was the world famous 'The Real McCoy's' which I made a point to go and visit while in Tokyo.
|The Real McCoy's|
Sadly I was so disappointed with The Real McCoy's, not because of the amazing products, or mind blowing showroom, but by the way the staff treated me. Not only was I completely ignored upon walking into the store. But when I attempted to inquire about a jacket size, the guy pointed to the price and walked away. My guess he assumed I couldn't afford it? Overall it was just bad vibes and everyone working there came across as smug and disinterested in selling anything. Next time I will show up in uniform, riding a 1950's Harley, with a copy of Clutch Magazine in hand, then I might be cool enough to sell to.
I ended up finding a jacket I liked a local vintage shop that had some really cool stuff. These small vintage/import shops are all over Tokyo, this one Counter Action Garage was in Sasazuka and just around the corner from my apartment. Just we advised if you are a large or x-large you will have a rough time finding much at the vintage shops, most everything is small-medium.
Overall you will find the retail experience in Japan to be pretty amazing, selection excellent, and pricing is overall about the same as the US depending on the rate of exchange. Just know that some of the cool kids might not want to talk to you, so don't get offended just take your business elsewhere.