During the CANDY gyarusa meet on Saturday the topic of how we all prefer to purchase our brand was raised. It can often seem difficult to get legitimate gyaru brand items in Australia as a lot of online resale shopfronts are based in the U.S. and physical shops that sell J-fashion here come and go as they struggle to keep up rent. There are however several ways, some of which you may not have thought were legitimate! I'll be listing 5 ways I buy Liz Lisa items in particular, in order of most reliable.
Disclaimer: I have not been sponsored to make this post, the only store here that I am officially affiliated with is Multipal.
1. Direct from Tokyo Kawaii Life using Tenso
It's repeated like a mantra amongst foreign Liz Lisa fans- the only way to be sure you are getting the real deal is to buy direct from the seller. Tokyo Kawaii Life is the official online stockist of Liz Lisa, as well as its sister brands and collaboration brands. TKL is also the most up to date online storefront other than the Shibuya109 webstore when it comes to limited edition releases.
If you don't speak Japanese the website can take a little while to get used to. I used Emiiichans guide the first time I checked out, but now that I'm used to the process I find I can do it without using a translator. I use Tenso as my shipping service as it's the one TKL recommends, but I'm pretty sure there are cheaper options out there. I like using Tenso because I can check out myself using my own log in and Tenso just forwards the package on, meaning I can rack up loyalty points online rather than a personal shopper checking out with their own account for me.
Once you are signed up as a member you will be added to the mailing list which will keep you up to date on new releases, sales, free shipping offers and coupon codes. This is the best way to stay in the loop along with following the official twitter and instagram.
Screengrab of a Tokyo Kawaii Life e-mail newsletter
My favourite way to browse TKL is by filtering by release date. Because Liz Lisa cycle through collections rather quickly, there's not much use trawling through TKLs older items unless a sale is on as most things will sell out. TKL is best for getting new releases as quickly as possible.
TKL is the storefront you want to use when highly sought items come out, such as My Melody collaborations and fukubukuros. Make sure you know the release date and time for special items so you don't miss out!
2. Buying bulk from other stores using Shibuya109 webstore
As mentioned previously, the most up to date storefront other than TKL is Shibuya109. Shibuya109 will also stock fukubukuro for pre-order, so it's good to use them as a back up if TKL sells out.
Shibuya109 can be a great way for newcomers to gyaru to get a bunch of different brand items at once. You can shop for items from every store that is in the physical Shibuya109 building and check out at the same time, and your package will also arrive consolidated. I personally picked up items from Ank Rouge, Honey Cinnamon and Datura in the same order and was satisfied with everything. They even send you the shopping bags for each respective brand you buy from so you feel like you really visited the store.
Use the drop down menu on the top left to pick a shop.
You will also need a shopping service for Shibuya109. I use Tenso here as well so I can gain loyalty points.
3. Direct from Tokyo Otaku Mode
Tokyo Otaku Mode is a newcomer to the J-fashion sales scene. Initially TOMs intention was to provide otaku goods to overseas customers, such as figures, posters and manga. TOM is becoming more and more popular for J-fashion fans as they now stock a wide range of items from brands that have never had international storefronts before, one of which being Liz Lisa. TOM also stock Bubbles, Listen Flavor, Swankiss, Galaxxxy and KokoKim just to name a few. You can even pick up the latest issues of your favourite gyaru magazines, from Ageha to Larme to Popteen.
The most convenient part of TOM is that the entire website is in English and you will not need a shipping service to get your items. If you spend over $100 you will be eligible for free EMS which usually arrives within a working week. You can also rack up loyalty points, and there are frequent sale events where you can earn extra points within a set time period. You can get a discount on your first order if you join using this link.
TOM is an registered reseller of Liz Lisa, so all items are legitimate, brand new with tags, and from recent collections. The only downfall is you cannot use TOM to order Liz Lisa within Japan.
I know. Shudder the thought. Nothing could ever come out of eBay other than replicas and scalpers! I'm here to tell you from experience: You are wrong.
Although there will be the occasional 'factory overflow' or 'tagless replica', there are actually a lot of trustworthy eBay sellers that stock second-hand and sometimes brand new Liz Lisa items. Search Liz Lisa and have a browse, but make sure the seller can provide you their own photos of the item. One of my all time favourite eBay sellers is robotkitty as they are based in Sydney and all items I order from them arrive within 2 days.
Other noteworthy Liz Lisa resellers that I have personally bought from are multipal (get 5% discount by messaging them my username!), tokyokawaiishop, zakkaya-bancho, japan-elly-shop, hal-japan, treasurejapan55, bunnyberri, and yoshi.tokyo. A lot of these stores will be open to you messaging them about particular items you are interested in so they can hunt them down for you. Multipal and robotkitty are especially good for this.
5. Depop and Comm Sales
This is the technique I use the least and find to be the most risky: buying second-hand from other gyaru. As much as I love communicating with other members of the community the fact of the matter is that a girl with a depop account does not a shopkeeper make. Checking out with inexperienced sellers can be tedious and pricey, and your item may not always arrive as described. Try to get as many photos as possible from sellers and ask for postage confirmation.
Don't let that deter you, though: you can often find rare items for dirt cheap prices if you search long and hard enough. If you're interested, my sales are here.
I hope these points were of use! Please comment below with any questions, and happy shopping.