7×7 – New, used, and everything in between

By Ben Davis

7x7 ben davis

Behind an unobtrusive white facade lies 7×7 (Seven by Seven), an understated one room-store where steel-framed tables and floating racks are lined with menswear and accessories that seem strangely familiar. Yet upon further inspection you’ll find that items are often much more than they seem, with many comprising a multitude of stories that span continents and eras, having passed through the hands of numerous owners and craftsmen.

7x7 ben davis

As a recent addition to Laila’s small group of vintage stores, 7×7 opened in 2013 under the direction of Junya Kawakami, whose time spent living in San Francisco has come to shape the store’s ongoing evolution. Drawing its name from the span of the Californian city’s central block – a place where countless cultures intermingle – the store boasts a concise mix of vintage clothing and accessories, custom-made originals and collaborations. Often combining high- and low-vintage, it’s not unusual to find anonymous and eccentric pieces alongside archive pieces from seminal European designers, yet the store continues to go beyond simply being a purveyor of items from the past.

7x7 ben davis

As 7×7 has grown over the past few years, their refreshing approach to producing original items with a range of like-minded collaborators has continued to develop. An early collaboration saw them partner with the aizome (natural indigo dying) workshop Litmus to dye batches of vintage button-down shirts, cashmere sweaters and even the occasional pair of sneakers. A technique with centuries of history and tradition in Japan, the aizome dying process not only imbued the goods with a new lease of life, but also saw the natural blue emerge in a variety of shades and reveal traces of the past that had previously remained hidden. In addition to ongoing projects with Litmus, other collaborations have seen chambray shirts being worn down and then embellished with a pearly rainbow of studs; while a veteran Tokyo-based tailor was recently commissioned to recreate classic corduroy suits with a modern silhouette and the store’s own custom-made fabric.

7x7 ben davis

Familiar yet curiously constructed, the store’s range of one-off trousers are produced in Okayama from a melody of new, used and deconstructed denim. One series draws its base from plus-size Levis that are reshaped and restitched into new forms, while another sees the region’s famed artisans patch and fix ragged pairs of jeans in order to produce pieces that embody the craftsmanship of repair.

Like many of the store’s items, it’s this combination of craftsmanship and the narrative of pre-loved pieces that results in one-off items that feel as though they were made just for you. Whether you’re in search of vintage or a unique piece, the best thing about a visit to 7×7 is that you’ll almost never see the same thing twice.

-7×7 (Seven by Seven)
-Where: 1-5-11 Shibuya, Shibuya
-When: 12–8pm
-Website: http://seven-by-seven.com/




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About Columnist

Ben Davis
Editor of Thousands Tokyo

Ben is an editor, consultant and photographer who has been based in Tokyo since 2010. Following a stint with local farmers in the Japanese countryside, he now works as Editor of Thousands Tokyo, which sees him happily spend most days (and nights) exploring the world’s biggest city from the ground up.