April 04, 2017
VISIT

Finding your very own vintage Kimono in Harajuku

原宿でふらっと、ヴィンテージ着物に出合う

Kimono – one of many cultural traditions of Japan. As an article of clothing even modern Japanese people do not have many occasions to wear, the Kimono can be even more daunting for foreigners as something beyond their reach. Good news – there is a shop in Harajuku, the epicenter of Japanese pop culture, where you can find and try on reasonably priced kimono. In this article we will take you inside the doors of “Harajuku Chicago”, a one-of-a-kind thrift store that carries vintage Kimono.
日本の伝統的な文化、着物。日本人でもなかなか着る機会の少ない着物は、外国人にとっても敷居が高く、手の届かないものだと思われがちだ。しかし、日本のPOPカルチャー発祥の地・原宿で、気軽に試着ができ、しかもリーズナブルで着物が手に入るショップがあるのをご存知だろうか? 東京でも数少ない、着物の古着を扱う〈原宿シカゴ〉で、ヴィンテージ着物の魅力を探る。

They’ve dealt Kimonos since their establishment

“Harajuku Chicago” is a legendary thrift store based in the trendsetting city of Harajuku where they have 3 stores, as well as in Shimokitazawa, Kichijoji, and Kyoto. Established in 1966, the store opened as a gentlemen’s clothing boutique, then started casual clothing with the emergence of the hippie movement in the mid-70’s. At the time, they realized that the trendy “American Style” Levi’s jeans that were hard to get were attainable if used, and hence started importing used clothing. Over a half-century since their establishment, they have been adored by men and women of all ages as a local-based thrift store that sells for reasonable prices.
Although the name of the store itself is connotative of an “American” thrift store, Harajuku Chicago has been selling Kimonos since their establishment, given the affection for Kimonos by the founder and current president. Have you seen the street vendor that sells Kimono at the corner of Laforet Harajuku on the weekends? (This may only be familiar to you if you live in Tokyo) That vendor, is the president of Harajuku Chicago himself. Currently they sell Kimonos at 4 of their stores (excluding their Kichijoji location), and on sunny weekends, they open up shop on the street corner.

着物の取り扱いは創業時から

〈原宿シカゴ〉は、流行発祥の地・原宿の3店舗をメインに、下北沢、吉祥寺と京都に計6店舗を展開する、古着界のレジェンドとされる老舗古着屋。創業は昭和41年。紳士洋服店として開業し、昭和50年代に起きたヒッピーブームを受けカジュアル販売を開始。当時のアメリカンスタイルブームで入手困難だったLEVI’SのGパンが古着であれば入手できる事を見いだし、古着の輸入をスタートした。それ以来半世紀にわたり、リーズナブルな地域密着型の古着屋として、老若男女問わず愛され続けている。
店の名前からも「アメリカ古着」のイメージの強い〈原宿シカゴ〉だが、実は創業者で現社長が大の着物好きで、創業時より着物を取り扱っているという。東京に住む人ならピンとくるかもしれないが、週末に原宿ラフォーレ隣のビル前で、着物の路上販売を見たことはないだろうか? 実はあの販売人こそが、〈原宿シカゴ〉の社長なのだ。現在〈原宿シカゴ〉では吉祥寺店以外の4店舗で着物を取り扱い、晴れている日の週末は路上で着物を販売している。

Chicago’s wide selection of cheap, vintage Kimonos

The first thing we were surprised with as we walked in was their massive selection of clothes. Everything from “Juban” (garment worn underneath the Kimono) to Haori (Coat worn over Kimono), wedding attire and kids sizes, as well as “Obi” (Cloth sash) for casual and formal occasions were all available in vast varieties. And even more surprising are the prices. Kimonos start from ¥1,080 (approx $9 USD*), and Obi sashes from ¥540 (approx $4.50 USD), and you can put together a full outfit for around $85 USD. These are, quite literally, industry-breaking prices.
“Many foreign tourists are surprised at our prices in both Japanese and Western clothing,” explains shop staff Kazuya Takahashi “they often ask ‘Is it really okay to purchase at such a low price?’”. Indeed, for overseas people who might imagine vintage stores as sellers of expensive used clothing, the prices at Harajuku Chicago may seem it is too good to be true.
Furthermore you can try on all of the clothing in the store, and if you ask the staff they will assist you in putting together a full Kimono outfit. In contrast to the traditional Kimono store, their selection is not affected by trends, and therefore they carry a myriad of patterns, colors, and materials. The budget-friendly prices and wide variety is exciting for Japanese people as well. The “Haori” is a popular item that people often wear out of the store, even over a casual outfit like a t-shirt and jeans.

安くて豊富。シカゴのヴィンテージ着物

店内に入ってまず驚いたのは、商品の豊富さ。着物の下に着る襦袢から羽織はもちろん、結婚衣装やキッズサイズまで揃い、帯も普段着用と礼装用などで見切れないほどたくさんの種類がある。そしてもっと驚いたのはそのプライス。着物は1080円、帯は540円からと、本格的に着付けても1万円前後でコーディネートできてしまう。着物業界の人が見たら腰を抜かしそうなほど安いのだ。
「外国人観光客には、和服・洋服問わず値段の安さに驚かれます。こんなに安くて大丈夫なのかって」。そう話してくれたのは、ショップスタッフの高橋和哉さん。確かに「古着屋」というと高価なヴィンテージ物を扱うショップが多い海外の人から見ると、〈原宿シカゴ〉のプライスは良心的すぎるのかもしれない。
また店内では試着も可能で、スタッフに声をかければ本格的な着付けにも対応してもらえる。通常の着物店とは違い流行りを問わずセレクトされている着物は、柄や色、素材もさまざま。気軽に手に取れるプライスと豊富な選択肢に、日本人でもワクワクしてしまう。なかでも人気のアイテムは羽織りもの。Tシャツ+デニムに、柄の羽織を羽織っていく人が多いという。

Enjoying Kimonos at your own sensibility

At Harajuku Chicago, they sell ‘remade’ original Kimono garments such as black “Furisode” boldly cut to a skirt-length, as well as handbags and gowns made from Kimono textile. When you slip into the gowns, the silky texture of the fabric feels really comfortable, and despite its vivid patterns it is surprisingly fashionable and compatible over your everyday outfit.
“Kimono is a traditional garment, but we would appreciate it if more people incorporated it into fashion without thinking too conservatively. We believe that it is also in the interest of our president to have more people experience the real “Japanese Vintage” that is the Kimono.”
Apparently, men’s “Haori” coats often have vivid patterns in the lining, and foreigners often wear it inside out. To incorporate the Kimono into your style at your own sensibility, or to enjoy it the traditional way as Japanese culture – the appeal of the vintage kimono is in its broad-minded profoundness in versatility. When in Tokyo, make sure you visit Harajuku Chicago. When you slip into their Kimonos, you may discover a charm in them that are unfamiliar to many modern Japanese people.

自分の感性で、ラフに着物を楽しむ

〈原宿シカゴ〉では黒の振袖を大胆にカットしスカートにしたものや着物生地で作ったポーチやガウンなど、オリジナルリメイク品も充実している。ガウンに袖を通してみると、着物独特のてろんとした着心地がとても心地よく、派手な柄でも不思議と普段のコーディネートに馴染み、とてもファッショナブルなことに驚いた。
「着物は伝統的なものですが、あまり難しく考えずに、もっといろんな方に楽しんでファッションに取り入れてもらえたら嬉しいです。日本のリアルヴィンテージである着物を身近に感じてもらうこと。それが、きっと社長の願いでもあると思っています」。
男性用の羽織は内側に絵柄があるものが多いが、それをひっくり返して、外側にして着る外国人も多いという。そうやって自分の感性でファッションに取り入れるもよし、伝統的な着方を日本文化として楽しむのもよし。着物にはそんな懐の深さがある、そう思わせるのがヴィンテージ着物の最大の魅力だ。東京に来た際には、ぜひ一度袖を通しに〈原宿シカゴ〉に足を運んでみてほしい。日本人でも知らない人が多い、着物の新たな魅力に出合えるだろう。

SHOP INFO

Harajuku Chicago, Jingumae Store

Address: 4-26-26 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
TEL:03-5414-5107

Open hours: 11:00~20:00
Closed: Open everyday, except on New Years Day
URL: www.chicago.co.jp

原宿シカゴ 神宮前店

住所:渋谷区神宮前4-26-26
TEL:03-5414-5107

営業時間:11:00~20:00
定休日:年中無休(1/1除く)
URL: www.chicago.co.jp

writer / KANA.D
photographer / MIREI SAKAKI

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