Disclaimer: Copyediting and polishing assisted with ChatGPT4.
Discover the thriving world of fashion recycling in Japan, where bargain hunters indulge in the art of finding wearable treasures. Locally known as ‘fashion recycling,’ this popular practice involves individuals selling their gently used clothing to specialized shops for around 500 yen ($7 USD) per bag. With a focus on wearability and seasonality, these shops ensure that only the best pieces make it to their racks. This trend is not limited to Japan alone, as recycling has gained significant traction across Asia due to the population’s growing awareness of the environmental impact and climate change. By diverting used clothing from landfills and preventing burning, recycling plays a crucial role in mitigating these pressing issues.
The cost of used clothing in Japan is incredibly competitive, making it a great bargain compared to shops in the USA. Unlike in Japan, where individuals sell their used clothing to fashion recycling shops for around 500 yen ($7 USD) a bag, clothing in the USA is typically donated to thrift stores, with no payment involved. These thrift stores then sell the clothing and donate the proceeds to charity. In the USA, used clothing is sold at approximately 50% of the cost of buying new clothes. For example, a shirt can be purchased for about $7. However, if you’re looking for something more unique, vintage clothing stores in the USA offer a different alternative. While the prices may be higher, with a shirt costing around $15, these stores have paid for the clothing and curated a selection of unique pieces. In Japan, out-of-season unsold clothing is placed on clearance racks and can be purchased for as little as 100 yen (70 cents USD). On the other hand, in-season overstock clothing is generally sold at a 30% discount, with the remainder being sold at full price. Typically, full price ranges between 500 and 1000 yen ($3.50 to $7 USD), so in-season overstock can be as low as 350 yen ($2.50 USD).
During my visit to Katsushika City, Tokyo, I explored the bustling Lumiere Shopping Street, which is home to two fantastic fashion recycling shops. Excited to embark on my bargain hunting adventure, I eagerly delved into the world of fashionable used clothing in Japan, ready to share my experiences and discoveries with readers.
Recycle Shop ICHIBAN
During my visit to Recycle Shop ICHIBAN, I couldn’t help but notice its eye-catching signage, displayed in both English and Japanese. As I approached the store, I was immediately drawn to the 100 yen clearance racks positioned right at the front. These racks primarily featured women’s clothing, although there were also some options available for men and children. With the intention of finding some great bargains, I focused my attention on the women’s racks. As expected, the items on the 100 yen clearance racks were mostly out-of-season pieces, such as lightweight tops, shorts, and mini-skirts, suitable for the summer season. However, I did encounter a slight challenge when it came to determining the sizes of the clothing. The racks were not organized by size, and a number of items were missing their size tags. Despite this, the store did provide a mirror and a fitting room, although I opted to make my decisions based on a visual assessment.
I began my shopping adventure by perusing the enticing 100 yen clearance racks displayed prominently at the front of the store. To my delight, I stumbled upon a handful of items that perfectly complemented my envisioned Fall ensemble. Unable to resist the incredible deals, I happily purchased four of these irresistible 100 yen items:
After perusing the enticing 100 yen clearance racks, I proceeded to browse the 30% off rack, which featured overstock in-season items. To my delight, I stumbled upon three more fabulous pieces that perfectly complemented my Fall ensemble, all priced at a mere 350 yen each ($2.50):
Armed with my newfound treasures, I couldn’t resist delving into the full price racks in search of more hidden gems at unbeatable prices. And lo and behold, I struck gold once again and ended up purchasing two more fabulous items:
I managed to snag all nine items for a total of 3000 yen, which is equivalent to $21 USD. Comparatively, in the USA, one would have to spend an entire day scouring garage sales to come across such remarkable finds at such a bargain price. It’s astonishing how just 30 minutes of browsing yielded such incredible results.
Adjacent to Recycle Shop ICHIBAN is Tanpopo House, another fashion recycling store that piqued my curiosity. With eager anticipation, I took a few steps toward Tanpopo House, hoping to uncover a comparable treasure trove at an equally unbeatable price. As I entered, my eyes were immediately drawn to the alluring 105 yen clearance racks, where I stumbled upon six more items that seamlessly complimented my Fall ensemble:
After thoroughly exploring the tempting 105 yen clearance racks, I ventured into the realm of discounted clothing items. These items were priced at 315 yen and were cleverly mixed in with the full-priced clothing on the racks. It required some diligent scanning, but I managed to search through all the remaining racks and unearthed four more fabulous clothing items that perfectly complemented my Fall ensemble:
As I perused the racks for these discounted treasures, I couldn’t help but notice some full-priced clothing items that caught my eye. Intrigued, I decided to revisit them and ended up finding four more remarkable pieces for my Fall ensemble, all at still bargain prices:
In the end, I was able to acquire all fourteen items for a grand total of 4080 yen, which is roughly equivalent to $28 USD. Both Recycle Shop ICHIBAN and Tanpopo House offered similarly enticing clothing items at affordable prices. Overall, I managed to purchase a total of 25 items for just $49, which is approximately the cost of a delicious steak dinner. Hmm, I believe I deserve that steak dinner to celebrate my successful shopping adventure.