Tokyo, home to the Imperial Palace, the Meji Shrine and vintage apparently. Although many would not expect it, Tokyo is well known for its high-quality vintage clothing, and the narrow alleyway of Takeshita-dori in Tokio’s Harajuku area holds the equivalent of London’s Camden Market. Lara Beard takes a closer look.

Here in Takeshita-dori, a haven for any budding vintage shopper, an eclectic mix of vintage items can be found in the small stalls and shops which run along the alleyway.

The narrow street is horribly overcrowded, which hits you like a brick wall when you first enter. However the colourfully dressed, eccentric shoppers will enthuse even the most uninspired dresser and are something to marvel at.

The clothes you find in the vintage shops around Harajuku are a reminder of why Japanese street fashion is so renowned. It’s clear that the Japanese are an effortlessly fashionable nation and a muse for anyone interested in fashion.

You are simply guaranteed to find a one-of-a-kind look, vibrant colours and edgy designs. It’s enough to make any shopper dizzy with jealousy as the UK just doesn’t quite match the calibre or diversity of garments on display in Tokyo.
It’s easy to see where the eccentric Harajuku girls get their looks from. They have matched vintage with designer pieces and added a whole lot of home-made and customised items, in what can only be described as chaotic masterpieces.

These looks would never grace the streets of Portobello market which makes them so utterly irresistible to stare at. Far from shy, the Harajuku girls are not afraid to walk around in their experimental outfits, they act as casual as if they were on their way to do their weekly grocery shopping in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt whilst tourists stare in utter disbelief.

I love how the girls, and boys by the way, have thrown all conventional fashion rules overboard and take individual style to new extremes. Surely that’s what vintage is all about: being truly unique.