Stephen with Hiroki Nakamura at FIL (Photo by Josay)
If you care about the types of Japanese brands and products I like to feature here, you may have come across Stylistics Space before. Stylistics Space is a Sendai-based webshop run by Stephen Marzano, an ex-pat American who is an enthusiast and expert when it comes to brands like Visvim, WTAPS, Supreme, Goodenough and Neighborhood. Stephen is a proxy shopper for buyers outside Japan and his service comes highly recommended. Stephen was gracious enough to answer some of my questions on a variety of topics ranging from the ura harajuku scene to the what he’s learned proxying for years.
When did you move to Japan? What was the retail scene like when you first got there?
I moved out here to Japan (Sendai) a little over six years ago, back in 2007. The retail scene here in Sendai (North of Tokyo) was/is definitely a lot smaller than in Tokyo, but it surprised me a lot. For a relatively small city, I didn’t expect the retail scene to be so big and vibrant. I can’t really think of a brand, Japanese or otherwise, that wasn’t/isn’t available here through a stockist, if not through it’s own shop branch here.
How did you begin your site Stylistics Space and what product do you like to share through it?
Initially, it was simply a way for me to move old gear of my own. I think I had brought some old pieces of mine to a recycle shop here to sell a long time ago and was just blown away at how low the prices were that they offered me. I would rather have given them away to friends or just skated in them than sell them for the prices they offered me. But at the same time, auction sites weren’t worth the trouble and I got tired of trying to move stuff on the chat forums. With that said, I started up my first blog and after a short while, people started asking if I had any other sizes. After I noticed the interested, when I was making my weekly rounds to the recycle shops, I decided to start keeping an eye out for pieces that I thought people might appreciate and that were priced well, even if they weren’t my size.
As for product on the site, I tend to just stick to what I know and wear myself which is why it’s really heavy on brands like WTaps, Neighborhood, etc. I appreciate a lot of different aesthetics and designers, but it’s just more fun to stick to what I know/enjoy and leave the rest to the proxy side of the business.
Read the rest of the interview after the jump