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Whistler/Chart Twin Stores Bring Retro Vibe to Tokyo’s Koenji District; Have Styles for Anyone Looking for Cool Outfits

The Yomiuri Shimbun
There are many leather shoes displayed in front of the store to attract customers.

The area around JR Koenji Station is one of Tokyo’s largest clusters of second-hand clothing stores. Among them, the two popular shops are Whistler/Chart, with a nice, classic feel that harks back to older American and European fashions.

Visitors can be overwhelmed by the enormous choice of products and the atmosphere of a mix of nostalgia and fashion.

The two stores opened in 2001. They are located in the same building, but have separate entrances and sell different types of goods.


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JIF retro wi 1
Yomiuri Shimbun Photos
Top: Most of the clothing sold in Whistler is in ‘traditional’ styles. Bottom: More than 2,000 pairs of shoes line the wall. Chairs for trying on shoes are antiques, brought from the American East Coast.

Whistler sells the types of items called “trad,” a slang word that means “traditional” in Japan. Chart sells casual style items.

The layout of the stores ensures that customers, regardless of age or gender, can find everything they come for.

As customers enter the first floor of Chart, they will see a wall of leather shoes on their left and leather bags hanging on the right.

The sight of products neatly lined up on floor-to-ceiling shelves is so awe-inspiring that some visitors get into an “instabuy” mood.

Some products were made in the 19th century and everything has its own history.

The reasonable prices are also a great selling point. Leather shoes start at around ¥10,000.

The interior of the store also shows the meticulousness of the management. The shelves and carpets were made in the 19th and 20th centuries and brought from the American East Coast.

The entire store exudes the atmosphere of times gone by and customers feel as if they have traveled back in time.

Hideyuki Yumikura, the stores’ representative, said: “I would be happy if our customers find something they will cherish and also get a feel for the essence of the beautiful, classical cultures.”


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The Yomiuri Shimbun
Vintage tracksuits that have become increasingly popular in recent years

On the second floor, the recently popularized “sports mix” style is prominent, with tracksuits and other activewear. Military jackets, T-shirts, bandanas and accessories also fill the space.

In the other store, Whistler, you can find many scarves, jackets, trousers and similar items.

Kana Koike, store manager, said: “Customers can easily start with just one item, such as shoes or a piece of clothing, and then find a complete outfit to match.”

The stores do not sell products online.

Koike said: “I want these stores to retain the fundamental joy of shopping, where customers actually come in and touch all kinds of products.”

***


JIF
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Whistler / Chart

Address: 4-30-8 Koenji-Minami, Suginami Ward, Tokyo

Access: 2 minutes walk from JR Koenji Station

Note: Open from 12:00 to 21:00. Some products can already be viewed on the stores’ Instagram account (@whistler_chart).

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