Confessions of a Recessionista

Confessions of a Recessionista

Tokyo's trendsetters are finding new ways to save on style


Originally published on on September 2009

Make no mistake: Tokyo’s fashion landscape is going through a major upheaval. All across town, “for rent” signs are appearing in the windows of abandoned temples to sartorial excess, while Uniqlos, H&Ms and other monoliths to the new religion of “fast fashion” spring up in their place.

The fashion-conscious consumer has changed as well. Hipsters who once seemed to have limitless funds flowing from the pockets of their designer jeans are now tightening their vintage belts and coming up with inventive ways to look good on the cheap. Metropolis braved the long queues at Forever 21 and H&M in Harajuku to get some tips from cost-cutting fashionistas on how to save without sacrificing style.



A lot of places are selling accessories for ¥300 these days. Most of them look cheap, but if you happen to find something that looks cute at that price, grab it. Later, go home and look at your wardrobe to see what you can coordinate it with.”


Don’t be afraid to look around shotengai (shopping arcades). The stuff is cheap, but you have to be patient and walk around to find something good.”


The secret is finding clothes that are affordable but aren’t made from fabrics that look cheap. Have a close look at the material before you buy.”