20
Jan

Sartorial Doctrine: Menswear shopping in Tokyo, Japan.

sartorialdoctrine:

It’s been about a month since I returned from Tokyo, much due to my wonderful readers I was able to visit some great stores. So I thought it would be nice to write a post about the stores that I enjoyed the most. To summarize it you cannot visit Tokyo without going home with overfilled luggage. Tokyo is truly a sartorial paradise where you can find price worthy Japanese products and also clothing from exclusive Italian brands known in the western market. Anyway, here we go…

01
Sep

Japanese four season tartans — For a long time, I’ve been searching for menswear items that incorporate some sort of Japanese heritage in them. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, but it’s been tough to find here in the United States and searching Japanese sites runs me up against a brick wall since I don’t know the language.

Imagine my glee in discovering that just three years ago when Scottish-tartan designer David Gill had designed a series of four tartans for Japan, each one specific to a season. Gill’s designed more than 60 tartans, some for other nations and a Tartans for Africa series.

For the Japanese Four Seasons series, he collaborated with Shizue Melvin, a businesswoman in Japan, who he met after being commissioned by her father-in-law to design the national tartan of Japan, which combines elements of the Japanese and Scottish national flags and ended up being the winter tartan (more on that in a bit).

The spring seasonal tartan — the sakura — drew inspiration from the annual blooming of the Japanese cherry blossom trees. You can definitely see the connection with the usage of pink for the blossoms, green for the leaves and green for the branches. It’s a perfect seasonal pattern to wear.

The summer tartan — the chou chou — is in part a reference toward the Giacomo Puccini opera “Madame Butterfly”, which is believed to be set in Nagasaki during the 1890s and featured the title character nicknamed after her signature kimono adorned with butterflies. The butterfly also features in samurai kamons, such as the Taira clan, which were emblems used to identify themselves in battle.

For the autumn tartan — the kiku — is so named after the chrysanthemum, which is another important cultural flower in Japan. It’s the basis for the Japanese Imperial mon crest and there’s even National Chrysanthemum Day, which is also known at the Festival of Happiness. The festival occurs on September 9th, tying in perfectly with a fall tartan, which features seasonal colors and hues.

Finally, the winter tartan — the nihon — was the first tartan developed and symbolizes the shared histories of Japan and an influential Scotsman.

As it turns out, Scotland does have an interesting historical connection to Japan through a Scotsman by the name of Thomas Blake Glover, who was nicknamed “The Scottish Samurai”, for his role in the Meiji Restoration and overthrowing the militaristic Tokugawa Shogunate and restoring the Emperor to power. After the war, he helped with industrialization efforts in Japan and even consulted with Mitsubishi. He developed the first mechanized coal mine and introduced the first trains to island nation. Oh, and he founded the Kirin Beer Company.

It’s my hope to be able to source some fabric of each tartan and perhaps make some neckties, pocket squares and even a pair of odd trousers. It’d be great to wear a tartan that actually ties back into my cultural heritage.

15
Jul

Die, Workwear!: The Japanese Do It Better

I guess the “J” in J.Press stands for “Japanese” now.

Big ups to dieworkwear on the amazing contrast between the American and Japanese e-commerce sites for the trad retailer. I would actually buy stuff from the Japanese site.

06
Jun
thisfits:

Japan wants businessmen to shed suits, save energy
“The Japanese government wants the country’s suit-loving salarymen to be bold this summer. Ditch the stuffy jacket and tie. And for the good of a country facing a power crunch, go light and casual.
Japan’s “Super Cool Biz” campaign kicked off Wednesday with a government-sponsored fashion show featuring outfits appropriate for the office yet cool enough to endure the sweltering heat.
…
“When we started Cool Biz in 2005, people said it was undignified and sloppy,” Koike said at the fashion show held at a Tokyo department store. “But this is now the sixth year, and people have grown accustomed to it.”
So what’s different with Super Cool Biz?
First, the dress code. Polo shirts, Aloha shirts and sneakers are acceptable now under the environment ministry’s relaxed guidelines. Jeans and sandals are OK too under certain circumstances.”
Stay strong, Japanese brethren. Stay strong.

Vader voice: “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

thisfits:

Japan wants businessmen to shed suits, save energy

The Japanese government wants the country’s suit-loving salarymen to be bold this summer. Ditch the stuffy jacket and tie. And for the good of a country facing a power crunch, go light and casual.

Japan’s “Super Cool Biz” campaign kicked off Wednesday with a government-sponsored fashion show featuring outfits appropriate for the office yet cool enough to endure the sweltering heat.

“When we started Cool Biz in 2005, people said it was undignified and sloppy,” Koike said at the fashion show held at a Tokyo department store. “But this is now the sixth year, and people have grown accustomed to it.”

So what’s different with Super Cool Biz?

First, the dress code. Polo shirts, Aloha shirts and sneakers are acceptable now under the environment ministry’s relaxed guidelines. Jeans and sandals are OK too under certain circumstances.

Stay strong, Japanese brethren. Stay strong.

Vader voice: “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

08
Apr
novh:

“Wa” Woodblock Print Pocket Square, 100% Charitable Donation The Hill-Side produced this woodblock printed pocket square as a charitable fundraising product with the goal of raising money to support disaster relief efforts in Japan and elsewhere.
The character printed on this pocket square is an old written name for Japan. It is pronounced “Wa” and roughly translates as “harmony; peace; balance.” This name for Japan originated in the 8th century, when Japanese scholars applied a new written character to replace the previous, Chinese-given name for their country.
Today, the idea that Japanese culture is based upon “wa” or harmony is a source of faith and pride for Japanese people. This character was chosen by The Hill-Side’s Japanese business partner, who currently lives in Tokyo.
100% of the $40 purchase price of this product will be donated to the International Rescue Committee
(via “Wa” Woodblock Print Pocket Square, 100% Charitable Donation :: HICKOREE’S HARD GOODS)

So, I’m a fan of this, but think that the $9.45 UPS shipping cost is completely insane. Just stuff it in an envelope and send it U.S. Postal Service instead!
#firstworldproblems

novh:

“Wa” Woodblock Print Pocket Square, 100% Charitable Donation The Hill-Side produced this woodblock printed pocket square as a charitable fundraising product with the goal of raising money to support disaster relief efforts in Japan and elsewhere.

The character printed on this pocket square is an old written name for Japan. It is pronounced “Wa” and roughly translates as “harmony; peace; balance.” This name for Japan originated in the 8th century, when Japanese scholars applied a new written character to replace the previous, Chinese-given name for their country.

Today, the idea that Japanese culture is based upon “wa” or harmony is a source of faith and pride for Japanese people. This character was chosen by The Hill-Side’s Japanese business partner, who currently lives in Tokyo.

100% of the $40 purchase price of this product will be donated to the International Rescue Committee

(via “Wa” Woodblock Print Pocket Square, 100% Charitable Donation :: HICKOREE’S HARD GOODS)

So, I’m a fan of this, but think that the $9.45 UPS shipping cost is completely insane. Just stuff it in an envelope and send it U.S. Postal Service instead!

#firstworldproblems

(via novh)

About The Silentist

A menswear blog on finding your personal style, written by Kiyoshi Martinez.

I work at Khaki's of Carmel and live in the Monterey Bay area. Formerly from Chicago.

E-mail me, I'm fairly nice: thesilentist@gmail.com

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