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The Smallest Shop in Tokyo

The Smallest Shop in Tokyo

“KLASICA is our business but also our life’s work. Like an artist painting, we design and make fabric.”

Tokyo’s Kohei Kawamura has been known to spend small fortunes on antique Japanese fireman jackets and historical French military uniforms, just so he can pick them apart for their patterns. 

Working from the tiniest boutique in Tokyo, Kohei reimagines these iconic, vintage garments and creates one-off, avant-garde pieces that straddle the past and present like beautifully tailored time machines.  He has named his label Klasica

“At first, we rented a shop space in Tokyo where we sold vintage military wear. It was always difficult to sell the larger size pieces so we decided to rework some of them,” Kohei explains. “Some shops wanted to buy some of these garments and the KLASICA brand evolved from there.”

While Kohei has never had any official training, he’s always had a fascination in clothes. 

“When I was 11, I had a GI Joe figure so I often asked my older sister to make clothes for it,” Kohei says. “Also, from around that age, being a younger sibling, I was often handed down my sisters clothes so I always asked my mother to change some details or alter the silhouette.”

These days, somewhat astoundingly, Kohei uses fabrics that he has custom made in Ichinomiya and Hamamatsu especially for his project.  

“Sometimes I find a fabric I like and have it made with a different fibre or bias, for example,” Kohei explains.

Wools and linen are woven with a special tension and shrunk slightly before stitching, while yellow stripes on fine cotton are designed to “jump” in places, so that they resemble wonky lines of typewriter text.

“My designs encompass two worlds. Classic vintage and contemporary avant-garde design. I always think about the meeting point between these two elements. Also, as the brand name implies, KLASICA’s designs have a classic feel so they won’t look out of place no matter whether you’re in the city or in a rural setting.

Like most artists, sometimes I am easily inspired but sometimes ideas don’t come that readily.”

Highlights from the current Klasica collection are being featured at the Sorry Thanks I Love You pop-up at Westfield Sydney this week, and the full collection is available to try on at our Martin Place store. Or, if you happen to be in Tokyo this week, these creations can be found at their source in Shimokitazawa – Tokyo’s famously creative neighbourhood, home to live music venues, fringe theatres, and Japanese pubs.

“The shop is just seven meters squared - about the size of a small garage,” says Kohei.  “I think it’s probably the smallest boutique in Tokyo! People are always surprised the first time they come.”


The Klasica store is located seven minutes from Shimokitazawa Station at 5-32-2 Daizawa Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.
Open 15:00-21:00 (Closed on Tue & Wed )

Check out highlights from the Klasica collection at our Westfield Sydney pop-up this week on Level 4, next to Harrolds and Christian Laboutin, see the full range in our Martin Place store in the GPO Building at No 1 Martin Place, Sydney, or online here.