Like much of the world, Japan is home to dozens of fashion brands like Uniqlo, GAP, and H&M, which offer high-quality clothes at low prices. It has come to the point that some refer to Uniqlo items as the “nation’s uniform” because of their ubiquity.
With all these big-name retailers saturating the market with their similar brands, how is a true individual supposed to express themselves? Of course there are one-of-a-kind boutiques, but those are way out of the average guy’s price range.
This is where our resident money expert Mr. Sato comes in. He’s known as “Cost Performer Sato,” or as he prefers “Cospa Sato,” because it’s a far more efficient name. He’s here to teach us about a secret shop which can be found in any one of your neighbourhoods and offers unique fashions at highly affordable prices, and look fabulous while doing so.
Our reporter Nakano interviewed Cospa Sato to get his thoughts on the state of clothing in Japan. However, the moment Cospa Sato said “back in my day” Nakano immediately noticed an interesting cloud in the sky and wandered off. Luckily, he kept a tape recorder running.
“Uniqlo? GAP? It’s kids’ play! Oh sure, they’ll sell ya good clothes for low prices. But is everyone willing to pay the price of their individuality? In looking for cheap clothes that simply match, people have forgotten what real style is.
Why, back in my day – you know, the 70s – there weren’t any shops like these, so we’d all have to search for some dy-no-mite duds, and thus define our own style. Can you dig it? Back then people had a lot more confidence because they knew they were wearing the clothes that were just right for them. And thus we became the greatest generation who bolstered Japan’s finest economic era.
Nowadays, real men like me who place an emphasis on cost performance go to Workman for clothes. Let’s face it, independent clothing shops as we know it are on the verge of extinction. The only place to get serious clothes that are also seriously cost effective is Workman… [whispers that last word and then stares off into space until the tape runs out]”
Workman is the name of a chain of workwear shops in Japan. To be fair, in this country the name is much more exotic. According to Cospa Sato’s diatribe it is also the last bastion for both fashion and price-conscious consumers during these style-strapped times of major brand outlets.
“Now come! I’ll show you,” Cospa Sato bellowed, grabbing Nakano forcefully by the arm and whisking him away to the nearest Workman shop.
Once inside, Cospa Sato grabbed a yellow plastic shopping basket and zipped from shelf to shelf as if he had the store memorized. Nakano watched as he furiously tossed shirts and slacks into the basket. “Is it alright to buy all this stuff?” he mused.
As if reading Nakano’s mind Cospa Sato eerily muttered, “It’s okay… Nooooo problem,” then marched towards the checkout. Although his basket was overflowing with clothing, the total came out to under 5,000 yen (US$42).
And so, with the shopping done, it was time to go back to the office and see what fashions Cospa Sato and Workman had forged together.
#1 City Bike Shop Guy Look
– Kinashi Cycle Chic –
“When your bike gets a flat on the mean streets of Tokyo, who do you turn to for help but the local bike shop? In this way, dressing like a bicycle shop employee projects an image of reliability and a kind heart. It’s an easy enough ensemble for men to put together and it drives the girls crazy. Note the “United” cap, which really drives home the fact that I’m not afraid of commitment. Be sure to wear it loosely as well for the complete bike shop guy look.”
#2 Mahjong Parlor Bouncer Look
– Direct-to-Video Style –
“Clothes that make you look like a mahjong parlor bouncer give you a strongman’s attitude but with a hint of hospitality that is very endearing to younger people. Wearing these clothes fills your heart with such power that you feel like you can repel even the most degenerate of gamblers that you might find in a direct-to-video movie series like Janki.”
#3 Tokyo Tribal Look
– The D.A.D. Collab –
“For this ensemble I borrowed the luxury brand D.A.D. cap that made me a chick-magnet at the Tokyo Auto Salon and paired it with a fashionable camouflage workman’s windbreaker, which itself only cost 2,000 yen ($17). Throwing on a pair of 100 yen ($0.85) sunglasses from Daiso completes the look. Normally, the jacket and glasses wouldn’t look great but the D.A.D. cap is a highly cost effective way to enhance the entire outfit.”
#4 Workman Look
– American Sexy Guy –
“Wearing overalls without a shirt is a money-saving privilege only men like me who train rigorously earn. Slap on a hat and aviator sunglasses from Daiso and congratulations! You’ll have become an American Sexy Guy.”
Cost Performer Sato would also like to point out that to fashion novices, these outfits might look ridiculous. If that’s the case for you then he has no time for you: “Continue to be a fashion slave to the chain stores if you will,” he said. “People who really understand style will understand the true value of these outfits and thus know who amazingly their cost performance is. Thank you, and peace out.”
Original article by Nakano
Model: Cost Performer Sato
Photos © RocketNews24
Video: YouTube – 桜井章一のすべて
▼ Behold: the Cospa Sato Spring 2015 Collection
[ Read in Japanese ]