Vintage clothing markets are drying up year by year. Reasons include scarcity: even in our current circumstances, where informatization prevails, it can be difficult to search for more than one of the same item. Further, unless a certain universality beyond trends is achieved, prices will climb, which naturally makes things more difficult to obtain.
In this connection, TOKION puts forth a series of new possibilities, together with MEDICOM TOY, which has captured the hearts and minds of fans in Japan and abroad with its animation, special effects, action figures from movies, etc. Here we are talking about the concept of “3D Vintage,” where new technologies have brought new life to the sector, taking time-tested works from the past as motifs. The first part of this series of events—well worth commemorating—will be a selection of t-shirts featuring Mickey Mouse and the Peanuts gang—characters known and loved around the world.
Soaring price tags on originals
Bringing you all the fun of searching out characters loved by millions
Above we talk about the fact that prices have been rising dramatically for popular vintage clothing items. This applies to the motifs we’ve chosen here—Mickey Mouse for our t-shirts and the Peanuts characters for our sweats. You may wonder why these items continue to charm people around the world. Why are they so loved, and what exactly is their appeal?
We asked Michihiko Kurihara—owner and buyer of Mr. Clean and an expert on the subject of vintage clothing—all about it.
Like Levi’s 501, both these series have been popular since the 1990s as typical examples of American vintage clothing. Incidentally, the Mickey in the photo (top right) is a design known as the “classic Mickey,” and is now once again gaining in popularity among adult women. Precisely because the Peanuts gang sweats under the brand name “Spruce” are becoming more and more appreciated in the U.S., people are unable to buy them—even if they can find them—due to the high prices they now fetch.
Large quantities of popular-motif items have been produced since the 1960s, while others are considered more “regular” used items—yet inventory is trending downward for these items as well. In fact, in tandem with a rise in demand for used clothing around the world, evidence suggests that it is now less difficult to find things in good condition. Mickey Mouse and the Peanuts remain primary characters in the U.S. loved by people from all walks of life. People like them because they can wear something totally different from their friends, and also they have fun looking for these items. These are some of the reasons for their enduring popularity.
Superior reproduction, as if it jumped right out of the illustration!
MEDICOM TOY, producer of these action figures, was established in 1996, marking the point in time when there was a boom in Japan of American comic action figures. The company offered high-quality molding technologies and a selection of figures that appeal to enthusiasts. The toy fad came in a blink of an eye, and with that the company began producing a wide variety of characters.
Products manufactured by MEDICOM TOY include what we call ultra-detailed figure series. The most distinguishing features is the incredible quality that you would never expect to see in a mini size of approximately 60 mm-100 mm. The Mickey Mouse and Peanuts characters highlighted here appear so real, they look like they’ve jumped out of an illustration!
Nostalgic for those born in the 1980s, something new for Gen Z
Two-dimensional illustration are accurately reproduced as three-dimensional figures and then printed once again on clothing. One might feel this is process is counterintuitive—yet that is precisely it the great appeal of 3-D vintage. This series features vintage t-shirts and sweats, and an homage to the idea of the baseball pennant. The special chic, slick look-and-feel of vintage clothing is re-created with bio-wash and a softening process.
The focus is on the details, starting with the angle from which characters are printed, but also in the surrounding graphics and the message on the back. This series will be followed by second and third series releases. Those born in the 1980s will find the first series nostalgic, while Gen Z may find it refreshing and new. These items are also a perfect fit for the Shibuya area, which has changed its look by a process of scrap-and-build.