Get To Know: The Fab Japanese Vintage At Super Mizu Store

Tokyo fantasy.

NZ babe Lily Gibson just launched her vintage shop Super Mizu Store and goddamn it is good! Lots of Comme and Issey, but also Dries, Gosha, Louis Vuitton, dreams, dreams, dreams. She sources all her stuff in Tokyo, where she’s lived for the past 2 years, inspects them for legit any signs of wear, and then puts a pretty fair price on them. Check out some of the pieces above, in the campaign imagery shot by our gal Imogen Wilson.

Below, get to know Lily and her Super Mizu Store — and find out why shopping at her shop is the right thing to do.

Can you tell me a little bit of background on yourself, how/when you started Super Mizu, and what you were doing before?
I’ve been living in Tokyo for the past two years and have, of course, always loved Japanese fashion & the culture around recycling everything, including clothes. I came home to NZ for summer and saw this new fascination people have with Japan, which was super exciting for me because I’ve been solely obsessed with Tokyo since I started studying Japanese at 15. While it may be seen as a trend at the moment, I know that Japanese quality, design & craftsmanship are values that everyone will appreciate forever.

I wanted to start Super Mizu basically to make the clothing I love more accessible to everyone, and to encourage people to dress more creatively & subversively, with less restriction around gender and ‘appropriateness’. Mix it up! It was important to me to use recycled clothing as a more sustainable option but especially because it’s so much more affordable. Without my access to quality recycled clothing I wouldn’t have half my wardrobe! I’m excited for designs from Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, & Issey Miyake for example, to be within the realm of possibility for more people.

What can shoppers expect from your collection? As in, what makes it the best place to find vintage items?
Japan is seen as such a mysterious, impenetrable culture & market, and that’s largely because it is. Speaking Japanese and spending a few years getting to know the culture and character of the recycle market means I have the confidence that I know the value of the items I’m buying, and know that they’re things you can’t find outside Japan, and never for a reasonable price! I’m not picking things that are a dime a dozen, either. The garments I find are hard to come by, even in Tokyo, because people there know they’re special. More importantly, the quality & condition of vintage in Tokyo is unlike anywhere else in the world. Garments usually have zero visible signs of wear, and some things from 15 years ago still have the tags attached. I really focus on quality when I buy, I only buy things I think will last a really long time and wear well.

How do you source your stuff?
I source every garment by hand in Tokyo, from a wide variety of vintage & recycle suppliers, collectors and friends who specialise in different styles. I buy things keeping in mind the potential lifespan of a garment – I want the next person who falls in love with it to wear it for years to come.

You source mostly from Tokyo — can you share some city tips? (doesn’t have to be fashion-related… can be food, parks, bars etc)
On a lazy Sunday I usually start at Fuglen or Little Nap in Tomigaya for coffee and a chat with whoever is there. Then I walk up to Aoyama and stop in at my friend Sarah’s amazing restaurant, OUT, to see if she’s available for lunch (she’s not because she works hard). Then I’ll go to check out the beautiful stores in Aoyama like Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, the four different Issey Miyake stores, Acne, and my favourite select boutique, SUPER A MARKET. Usually hungry by this point, I hit CITYSHOP salad bar, A to Z café for obento, or find something from one of the food trucks at Commune 2nd. Then I’ll stop in at Aoyama Farmer’s Market to get my veggies and maybe some treats, and have a second coffee from Little Cloud Coffee inside the visvim store. One level up from visvim is the Comme des Garçons GOOD DESIGN SHOP, which has good home basics like storage units, scissors and cushions. Sometimes, if I have money I need to get rid of, I go to the ISETAN food hall to get specialty food ingredients and look at the amazing produce and prepared food. The Beams store close by is the best place to buy gifts – beautiful home wares & art from different regions of Japan. Sometimes I end the day with a nap in the MUJI store’s furniture section, just like everyone else does. I usually walk home through Yoyogi Park. I love seeing all the families and dogs and performers on the weekend, including the rockabilly dancers who are there without fail every Sunday.

Three pieces you wish you could keep for yourself…
Perfect Leather Skirt – vintage bright orange Louis Vuitton mini skirt. It’s almost cartoon-ish looking, and has great buttons.
Vintage Rick Owens Dream Waterfall Pants make your legs go on forever and are so comfy. Love an elasticated waist band.
Junya Watanabe Wing Shirt – incredible shape and beautiful soft cotton make it the perfect update to a white shirt. I can really see myself wearing it when I need to get things done!

What items from your personal collection will you never sell?
I’d probably sell anything, really. Especially now that I’m launching SMS and am hoping people will like what I like, if someone loved something of mine I’d be over the moon to share it with them. Clothes should have many lives. Need my red Prada backpack, though (that’s a given).

If Super Mizu were a colour: neon sign pink
If it were a mood: Schemin’
If it were an animal: a very gentle Italian greyhound
If it were a language: broken Japanese (of course)
If it were a place: Yoyogi Park on a Sunday afternoon
If it were a smell: Fresh figs!
If it were a time: Saturday, 7am
If it were a song: Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child for no other reason than that it’s a feminist banger and it’s ironic because I have zero dollars
If it was a season: late Spring – nearly too hot to wear a jacket but you try anyway in the name of good taste
If it were a YouTube video:

Photos: Imogen Wilson