Japan, without a doubt, is one of the most fashionable places you can find yourself. Keeping up with the Japanese in terms of fashion can put a dent in your wallet—but it doesn’t have to. Secondhand online shopping for both designer and fast fashion is booming at the moment, which means you’ve got an abundance of choice right at your fingertips, literally.
Investing in a few high-quality, timeless pieces that form the backbone of a capsule wardrobe saves you not only space, but frequent trips to fast-fashion shops to buy clothing that won’t last more than a few washes. Creating less waste and using fewer resources also means it’s eco on top of cheapo. Let’s look into three popular options for buying online secondhand clothing and more online:
Zozotown has quickly become one of Japan’s largest and most popular online fashion retailers. Zozoused is its thrift shop sister site with close to a million items in stock. Even with basic Japanese (or Google Translate), the search function is easy to navigate and extremely detailed. If you’re looking for a white Issey Miyake skirt, medium length, in size small, with a floral pattern, under ¥3,000, you can search for exactly that. Also, items are put into four quality categories, ranging from brand new to an acceptable condition. Shipping is set at a ¥200 flat fee.
Many of you are familiar with Ragtag, a popular high-end pre-owned fashion chain. But if you’re looking for something specific, it might be a smarter choice to browse the 250,000 items online than search through all its brick-and-mortar stores. The search functions aren’t as detailed as Zozo’s but very similar, and you can definitely find some gems there. Shipping is free.
Mercari has taken the country by storm and Japanese people are selling all sorts of items, including designer shoes, bags and fashion directly from user to user via this flea market app. The app also exists in the US, so going over to the American version and familiarizing yourself with it in English first can help you navigate if your Japanese isn’t up to snuff. It offers search functions that can narrow down your hunt by brand, category and size, but the easiest way is to enter search keywords. Users rate each other, so sellers are very responsive to questions posted in the comment section of items for sale. Descriptions are usually very detailed, including measurements and materials, which gives you the confidence to shop online. Shipping varies, but is usually included.
Pro tip: Have coveted goods lying around? See our full guide on how to sell on Mercari.
Overall Japanese people usually treat their goods with great care and often sell new or good-as-new items online with a discount, which makes secondhand shopping in Japan a no-brainer. Beware, from now on all your commutes will be spent swipe-hunting for that designer piece you always wanted!
If you really must take your shopping to the streets, try these popular secondhand shops in Tokyo.