Check out our FAQs below. These are actual questions we get both in-store and by email fairly often, so see if your question is answered below! This list will be updated as we get new questions. If you think we’re missing anything, please email us and let us know!
Q: What is Tokyo Rebel?
A: We’re a US-based store that sells popular Japanese street fashion styles including rock, punk, gothic and Lolita. We sell the real brands, not the knockoffs you might regularly see on Ebay. See the “Fashion FAQs” section of the FAQ for more info on Japanese and Harajuku street fashion.
Q: What is your store concept?
A: We’re modeled on a Japanese “select shop” that are popular in Tokyo and other Japanese cities, who pick and choose the best clothes from a variety of popular brands and styles. Our store name refers to Tokyo because that’s the epicenter of this kind of underground fashion.
Q: What's so special about Japanese fashion?
A: It's highly imaginative, inventive, cool and/or cute. Japanese designers have taken western fashion trends and warped them, changed them and amped them up. The results are styles that look familiar to westerners, but are still incredibly different than anything designed here.
Q: Why should I buy from you and not from another store?
A: First, because we strive to provide customer service that's second to none, from quick replies to inquiries to better packaging than our competitors to a personalized effort to solve any potential problems that may crop up. You're not going to find a more professionally-run and customer-centric store selling this kind of fashion.
We also pride ourselves on being forthright and honest in everything we do. Just read through our blog, our FAQ and the rest of our site and you'll see how up front we are. Some stores - especially "storefronts" you might find on auction sites - claim to sell Japanese street fashion but in fact sell off-brand, low-quality knock-off items that copy Japanese designs.
Moreover, while we don't know how you first heard of us, we've built up a pretty large following online - more than 15,000 Facebook likes, tens of thousands of site hits per day, and thousands of satisfied customers.
Q: Do you ship overseas?
A: Yes, though the shipping costs are obviously a bit higher and you are responsible for any and all potential customs fees. Also, since not every country supports the AVS security standard, if we see anything suspicious about your order, we may require you to fax us additional verification before shipping.
Q: What are your shipping costs?
A: See our policies page for current shipping rate tables.
Q: Do you do special orders?
A: Yes, though see our policies page for the process and caveats.
Q: I live overseas. Can you mark down the value on the customs form for me? Or mark the package a gift?
A: No, we cannot, as it is against USPS regulations for us to do so. Some people will do this, but they are taking a risk, and we cannot take that risk as getting caught could directly affect our ability to stay in business.
Q: Are your items in stock or do you need to order them from Japan? How fast will I receive my order?
A: We will specify in no uncertain terms if an item is not actually in stock. Most out of stock items will display an “OUT OF STOCK” message on the item page and you will not be able to add them to your cart. (This is because we are never sure if we can restock an item until we’re very close to actually receiving it again.) The only out of stock items you will be able to add to your cart are reserve items, items specifically marked as special order items, and sold out items that we’re sure to have back in stock shortly. In the last case, we specify in the item description when the items are expected in stock.
In all other cases, our items are kept in stock in New York and should ship within 1-2 business days.
Q: How often do you get new items?
Q: What is your return policy?
A: We have a 14 day defective exchange policy only. If there is a problem with the manufacture of your item, we will take it back for replacement or store credit within 14 days. We cannot take back items for sizing or other issues, the reason being that unlike a store selling American brands, we cannot send clothes back to the manufacturer for credit. The Japanese manufacturers will not accept returns from us, so we unfortunately can only accept returns if your item is defective. This should be exceedingly rare, as we personally check every single garment we receive from each manufacturer as soon as we get it for just this reason.
Q: Do you have a physical store or only a web store?
A: We have a physical store at 158 Allen St. in New York City. Details here.
Q: What is your relationship to BABY, the Stars Shine Bright New York City?
A: We share a retail space and employees. But BABY, the Stars Shine Bright NYC is a separate store within the same retail space, so we will need to ring up mixed items separately if you visit us.
Q: What brands do you carry?
A: We are fully authorized retailers for SEX POT ReVeNGe, Lumiebre, Atelier-Pierrot, Victorian maiden, Putumayo, Innocent World, Novalar's, Pullip, LISTEN FLAVOR, illustrator Yoh, Lumiebre, and more. We carry the most brands - and the most popular brands - of any Japanese street fashion store in the United States.
Q: Do you ever run sales?
A: We do have a continuously running and updated sale section on our web site, and we occasionally run special sales. We probably do it less often than other stores, though, because reasons.
Q: How do you price your items?
A: We try to stay as close to the Japanese price at the current exchange rate as possible. However, there is more to importing clothes from another country than just the exchange rate. We need to recover all of our costs, plus have some left over for profit.
Please note that we do not negotiate prices, either in our store or online. The marked price is the price. We do not do volume discounts, as we are not a volume seller.
Q: I bought something from you, now how do I clean it?
A: Check the tag and follow its instructions. Here is a guide to Japanese clothing care symbols.
Q: Why is it called "Lolita" fashion?
A: The short answer is "no one knows". The long answer is too long for a FAQ, but it is not taken from the famous (western) book.
Q: How realistic/accurate is the movie and book Kamikaze Girls (aka Shimotsuma Monogitari)? Is the actress who played Momoko really a Lolita?
A: A lot of western Lolitas got their start in the fashion through this movie/book, and it really did a lot for the industry in Japan too. It was created with the full cooperation of Baby, the Stars Shine Bright and with a lot of attention to detail, so it is very accurate in its depiction of the fashion at that time. Bear in mind that a decade or more has now passed and Lolita fashion isn't static, so some of the styles you see in the movie look a little dated today. But it's still an essential title for anybody new to the fashion, and a great movie in its own right - we recommend it!
No, Kyoko Fukada is most definitely not a real-life Lolita, although she does play one in the movie very convincingly (and she won an award for it). It's not hard to find Japanese Lolitas who are very much like Momoko. Her character is based on a stereotype of Japanese Lolitas, but it's a stereotype that does exist, even though everyone in Japan has their own unique reasons for getting into the fashion and many Lolitas are perfectly happy.
Q: How about a rundown of the concepts behind the brands you sell?
A: Ok, here goes:
SEX POT ReVeNGe – hardcore punk for men and women
Atelier-Pierrot – traditional elegant gothic Lolita
Victorian maiden – classic Lolita with a focus on adult women
PUTUMAYO – punk Lolita with a "poisonous atmosphere" (their words!)
Innocent World – traditional classic Lolita
LISTEN FLAVOR - cute and colorful pop punk for the archetypical "Harajuku Girl" look
Lumiebre - classically designed and intricate umbrellas, parasols and clothing with modern elements
Q: Why don't you sell replicas? I can't afford brand!
A: You may as well ask Nordstrom why they don't sell the cheap knockoff Coach bags you can buy on Canal Street. It's just not our business and we don't support it. Japanese Lolita and punk brands are not large businesses; they cannot afford to absorb the costs of bootleg merchandise. These are small businesses of under 100 people (in some cases, under 10 people) whose only income is the products they design and sell. Replica producers that outright copy those designs and then undercut prices by 50% or more are having a severe impact on the entire industry.
Q: I’m a western designer – will you sell my Japanese-inspired clothes?
A: Please understand that this is not a judgment on your quality as a designer – but the answer is probably no. It's just harder to sell them, and we don't have the resources to put into promoting independent designers. We are currently testing the waters with some western designers, but we're picking and choosing based on what brands we know and like and think would complement our other products. We do not generally respond to unsolicited requests from designers.
Q: Do you (or will you) sell any of the new Chinese or Korean brands that have popped up recently?
A: We never say never, however it is difficult at this time to mix Japanese, Chinese and Korean brands in the same store. This is not a reflection on what we think of these brands.
Q: Do you sell cosplay costumes?
A: No. All of our clothes are designed for everyday wear. They are high quality garments.
Q: What's the difference between costumes and what you sell?
A: When you wear a costume, you're dressing up as something you're not. What we sell are clothes; when a person wears Lolita clothing, they're not "cosplaying as a Lolita", they are just dressing as who they are. In practical terms, costumes are much lower quality because they're made to wear once or twice. Real clothing like we sell is made to be worn many times before wearing out.
Q: I found stuff that looks just like what you sell for about half the price somewhere else. Why wouldn’t I just buy from them?
A: Because you found one of three things: a) replicas, b) cosplay costumes, or c) a scam site. Replicas and cosplay costumes are likely to be lower quality than the real thing, and won’t last. Replicas are counterfeits and, depending on the similarity to the original, may even be a form of trademark infringement (considered bootleg merchandise). Cosplay costumes in particular also look bad when worn outside of a dress-up setting – it’s really obvious that they’re not real clothes just based on the material and poor fit. As for scam sites, you really need to be careful that you’re not dealing with somebody who will take your money and run. If you see “brand” items advertised for well below what you see elsewhere, that is a scam site. The brands are very selective in who they deal with, and they will not deal with a site that undercuts their own prices significantly.
There is always a lot of talk in the Lolita community, especially, about various overseas off-brands, many of which are very cheap. However, you generally get what you pay for. Our position is that it’s better to spend $300 on a dress that you will wear and love for years than waste $75 on a dress that’s unwearable even once. Caveat emptor, but we are giving you some honest advice to avoid heartbreak. Save up and buy quality.
Q: Do you sell Visual Kei fashion?
A: We sell many items that can be used in visual kei coordinates, though few brands in Japan claim to produce "visual kei fashion". SEX POT ReVeNGe, which is often held as the standard-bearer for VK fashion, calls their fashion "punk", so that's how we refer to it as well. But you can certainly use their clothes - as well as several of our other brands - in a VK coordinate. Use your imagination!
Q: Do you sell "FRUiTS" fashion?
A: FRUiTS is a magazine that first popularized "decora" fashion, which is basically a DIY fashion style where you just mix and match colorful stuff. There's no real definition to this fashion and the term "decora" was applied by those who noticed it as a style that was becoming popular. It's not a term really used by those who actually wear it, because they're not really doing it consciously. You don't go out and buy a "decora t-shirt" or a "decora skirt" at a "decora store". We definitely sell some things that could be used in colorful coordinates that might end up in FRUiTS magazine, but it's kind of an unintentional fashion style so we don't promote it that way. LISTEN FLAVOR is probably the brand we sell that would be easiest to make a decora coordinate from, though the style itself allows for items from pretty much any brand or genre.
Q: And mori girl?
A: Similar answer to the one above - mori girl isn't really a fashion style with distinct brands that claim to produce mori girl garments, so it would be difficult for us to stock even if we wanted to. It's more just the overall look of the moment. Also, it is very mainstream, which isn't really what we do. You can buy it at Forever 21. We're not trying to compete with them. Our store concept is underground Japanese fashion, not all Japanese fashion.
Q: Do you take Victorian maiden reserves?
A: Yes we do. We are fully authorized to do so through our web site and in store.
Q: And Innocent World reserves?
A: Again, yes.
Q: What is KERA?
A: KERA is a monthly Japanese fashion magazine that is the unofficial bible of the brands and styles that we carry. It is hugely popular, and all of the major alternative street fashion brands participate in its production. Its featured styles do change over time, as it is both a reflection of and influence on street fashion in Japan. Currently, it is mainly focused on punk, retro and Lolita styles.
If you're new to Japanese fashion and are wondering how to get started, take a look at KERA for ideas. We sell it online. New issues do sell out quickly, so hurry when you see it posted.
Q: What is the Gothic & Lolita Bible?
A: The G&L Bible is a “mook” (magazine/book) that’s put out by the makers of KERA. It’s published quarterly and focuses exclusively on gothic and Lolita fashion, since KERA often leans more towards punk. The G&L Bible shares models with KERA.
Q: Are any of these magazines produced in English?
TokyoPop published a US version of the GLB that was based on the Japanese version but included a lot of local content, however their issues were years behind the originals and the last "new" issue was published several years ago. In Japan, these magazines basically serve as a catalog of new releases (the pictorials are designed just to showcase new items in different situations), so it was a problem that the US issues were so far behind. Almost nothing pictured inside them was still available, so the brands in Japan had no interest in supporting it and consumers didn't show enough interest to keep it afloat.
No other Japanese alternative fashion magazine is produced in English; they are all Japanese-only, including the GLB these days. You can still use the pictures and advertisements as a reference for what will soon be available, and many of these products can be ordered through us.
Q: Do you sell these magazines and mooks?
A: Yes! We sell them in our store and online.
Q: Do you sell any other fashion magazines?
A: At the moment, we only sell KERA and GLB.