To collectors of Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe and Gosha Rubchinskiy, there are a few stores on earth that brings a certain joy and euphoria, but nothing can compare to the Comme des Garçons Market Market sale in Paris.
If you’ve ever collected something, you know there are certain items or pieces that you simply never stop looking for. For me, the list is long, expensive, rare and signed by Rei Kawakubo with numerous AD’s. Finding rare and often forgotten gems from the Comme des Garçons archive at -70% off seems almost like a dream and JUST too good to be true. However, it’s not—the Comme des Garçons Market Market is a rare occasion for fans of the Comme des Garcons empire to revisit some of their favourite collections from the past, and possibly bring them home. This season, Comme des Garçons Market Market is taking place in Pantin, just outside Paris. For this occasion, a round-trip on opening day is needed and my mind won’t stop thinking about what is there, what will be available in my size, what is in my price range and if I’ll find the items I’ve been so desperately craving for several years. Will I be able to bring them home with me? Or will they be ripped out of my hands by someone with a higher, unquenchable thirst for Comme des Garçons?
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My plan is simple: go by category and size, choose jackets and coats over basics, look for voluminous pieces rather than minimalistic base products from the underlines of Comme des Garçons. My priorities are SS12, SS13, SS14, SS15 and AW13, AW14 mainline. Junya Watanabe AW14 and patchwork denim. On the top of my wishlist you will find the straitjacket from SS15 in either red lacquer or black wool and the multi-rose blazer and trousers from AW13.
Upon arrival what meets me outside is a long line of followers, fans and hopeful owners of rare Comme des Garçons archive pieces. It looks as if I’m not the only one who has gotten on a plane to spend my savings on artisanal Japanese clothing. People are traveling with bags, carry-ons and carryalls, scrolling through their phones, looking at photography of past collections, making calls to their friends and relatives—all looking for that special something. Once inside, all endless steel racks are filled with clothes I’ve been looking for, clothes that I have been longing for as a proud avant-garde owner for over 8 years. Large sculptural animals in white divide the room into sections with contemporary music provided by Rinse France.
Navigating this incredible collection of clothing isn’t easy, thankfully I came prepared and ready to dig for treasures. If I could give one piece of advice for future Market Market visitors, it would be to take it easy, work thoroughly and systematic through the landscape. But as a collector, I would say go for the pieces you missed out on in the past, that you can’t stop thinking about. This is a relationship where finding the one is hard and takes time, effort and work – but in the end, it‘s all worth it.
I ended up buying the AW13 look number 6 and two leather sleeves with a front buckle closure from Comme des Garcons Homme Plus. My grand total before discount was $4200, but I spent $1200. The feeling I’m left with after going to Paris just for one day to visit the sale surprised me: I thought I’d feel tremendous stress and suffer from Stendhal syndrome, but I feel encouraged and motivated—not by the clothes, but by seeing so many fellow fans and followers of the Comme des Garçons empire coming together in search of clothing that means more than just average pieces of cloth.