While a vintage store is familiar territory to most of us, a curated vintage store, on the other hand, might be a not-so-familiar concept to shoppers here. But the emphasis on “curated” is exactly what Shibuigarm is all about. First opened as an Instagram business in December last year, it moved into its first brick-and-mortar space at the buzzy bohemian enclave of Pearl’s Hill Terrace on July 15.
“Shibuigarm is an specially curated vintage clothing store; we look through every garment available and decide what to bring in; we don’t bring in two of the same pieces. To us, vintage (clothing) is of a higher value because it has more years on it. I’d say the unspoken rule of vintage is that pieces have to be from at least 20 years ago”, says its founder, Wilson Tan, 22, who runs the store with his mate, Alvin Loy, 20. The pair met at a pop-up event late last year and connected over their shared love for the punk-grunge aesthetic.
They operate their retail business within their own personal creative studio Anteiku Studios – situated at #02-54 – which takes its name after the cafe in the Tokyo Ghoul Japanese manga series where ghouls gather. The studio also stocks designs from other youth-led shops like handmade jewellery from Erydium, fairy-core apparel from Faerydium and vintage shop Riot Vintage.
The curation for Shibuigarm’s wares does not cater to a specific group of people or lean into any single aesthetic. Brands we spied on the rack include Kim Jones, Comme Des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto. The duo sources for these brands from the United States and Indonesia; regularly updating their rack with buys every other week. Besides pooling for these brands, Shibuigarm also produces its own reworked pieces which are mainly designed by Loy.
Anteiku Studio where Shibuigarm is stocked. The studioo recently held a pop-up event, which ended on Sep 4, which saw a portion of their earnings donated to the Red Cross as part of World Humanitarian Day. They will be having a pop-up event on Sep 30 until Oct 2.
“We don’t just sell clothes to people; we’re selling our personal aesthetic. Things that you see in our store are things that either of us would wear,” says Tan as he points to their latest creation: a black tank top roughly cut through the middle and held together with safety pins.
“Recently, I took a facial shaver to a shirt and shaved a shirt to thin out the material. It really is spur of the moment ideas that somehow produce the most gratifying results. There’s no right or wrong. Sometimes, I would have an idea and Alvin would keep adding on to it,” Tan adds.
The graffiti seen on the studios’ interior, exterior and furniture are the handiwork of the guys and their friends.
The best way they would describe their style? An outward expression of their devil-may-care personality; heavily influenced by their love for Japanese and metal culture (both actively listen to bands like American band Acid Bath, Party Cannon and Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura) that revolves around biker and military wear pieces to create an aesthetic that could be perceived as grunge-meets-punk.
Shibuigarm, unlike many other clothing stores, adopts an instalment payment plan. “We relate because we were once – I still am – in that position of not being able to always afford things that I want. Not every store offers this, but we understand the feeling. It’s not about making money immediately, but having the person enjoy the piece,” explains Tan.
Ahead, the passionate entrepreneurs delve into their journey setting up the space, coming up with Shibuigarm’s DNA and their experiences in other vintage ventures.
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