Better Than The Real Thing?

Our last post, on the topic of Ivy in Japan, had a touch of defensive jingoism, to be sure. But it also left open the question of whether or not the Japanese do take American inventions and make them better. To wit, this tweed jacket found by Ivy Style correspondent Trevor Jones at J. Simons in London. He writes:

I mentioned to you about a blue blazer I bought in there by a tailor out of Japan called Tailor by Boston. I did a little research and could not find anything aside from a small page. He has two connected  but distinct webpages, one for Tailor by Boston and one called Boston Clothiers. Both are in Japanese and terribly out of date. When I asked how they found him, the boys over at JS tell me he just walked into the shop one day to set up a connection. Apparently he’s an elderly master tailor from Japan who does everything by hand. I got another jacket from him, a Harris Tweed with a brickish tinge, it fits like a glove. Again, the details are spectacular.

Links:

http://www.bostonclothier.com/shop.html

http://www.bostontailor.com/

It’s certainly a fine specimen. And more from Misters Jones and Simons next week. — CC

17 Comments on "Better Than The Real Thing?"

  1. Andy McBlockheid | December 14, 2018 at 11:45 am |

    Tweed jacket: an “American invention…” Well, that IS news

  2. Is it Harris Tweed and how much did it cost? O’Connell’s offers something very similar for $895.
    http://www.oconnellsclothing.com/Southwick-Sport-Coat-Harris-Tweed-Brown-Olive-Herringbone.html

  3. I would also be interested to hear how they stack up, price-wise.

  4. The last thing I would want is a jacket that fit like a
    glove.

  5. Both of the logos from the first link are incredible.

  6. Charlottesville | December 14, 2018 at 2:50 pm |

    Looks superb. I have a similar vintage brown tweed from Brooks that I found on eBay, which I guess is circa 1975 or thereabouts judging from the slightly wider lapel than what I was used to when I started shopping there in the 1980s. I also have a gray Harris tweed from the old, and much missed original Joseph A. Bank from around the same time. Both are natural shoulder, 3/2 sacks with double patch pockets, fairly high button placement, 2-button cuffs, swelled edges and lapped seams. No hook vent on mine, but I can’t tell about this one. The Brooks coat also has a matching vest, which is a nice old-fashioned touch that I have seen only at J. Press in more recent years. Remarkable that this American-inspired, Japanese-made item came from London. An international brotherhood of Ivy tradition.

  7. Well it is certainly a faithful imitation. But what is meant by “better”? Better than that which it is imitating? I’m not sure how that would work. If what you’re asking is whether this is better than what is currently on offer from American providers like J. Press or Southwick, the answer may be that it is a better imitation or replica of the Platonic ideal — assuming of course that that is what Southwick and J. Press are going for.

  8. Trevor Jones | December 14, 2018 at 4:09 pm |

    “Imitation” is exactly the reason I sent these to Christian. Just because they’re not made by JP or BB, why does that make them less authentic? I get that those places have an inextricable link with the style, however, that doesn’t mean something with the right details and exceptional quality are not authentic so much as they are not part of the old story. Who says they can’t be part of the one that is still being written, though? For reference, I have two jackets by Boston (very nice for me beacuse I’m from Boston, MA anyways), both have the following details standard:
    -3/2 button stance
    -patch pockets (including breast)
    -hook vents
    -length to my thumb when arms at side
    -two cuff buttons
    -full inside lining
    Also for reference, the price of this Harris tweed would, off the rack, be around £800. It’s been sitting for a while so it was marked down to £600 and I am friendly with the gents in JS so I got even more off but, given it’s impeccable construction, I was happy to pay that. I would never pay that much for something from, say, Brooks as I’m not as sure as I am with this about the quality.

  9. Trevor Jones | December 14, 2018 at 4:12 pm |

    Sorry, breast pocket is not patch on this one but it is on the navy blazer by Boston.

  10. Jim Dalessandro | December 14, 2018 at 11:33 pm |

    Maybe it’s the angle of the picture, but the side patch pockets seem too close to the bottom of the coat.

  11. Evan Everhart | December 15, 2018 at 1:56 am |

    I’ve got to be “that guy”, black buttons! Seriously?! I only saw the images above and they look alright, but not really £600. or £800. alright….I got a nearly identical vintage Brooks Bros., Brookstweed Shetland tweed HBT sportcoat for about $100. total cost….I prefer my total cost. As to the topic du jour, I don’t know if the Japanese can exceed the classic vintage BB and J Press wares, let alone yr Chipp or Dunne wares, though I am surr that their wares are likely better than current offerings from at least BB.

  12. Trevor Jones | December 15, 2018 at 7:52 am |

    Jim, that is the angle of the picture.
    And Evan, that’s a result of a not-so-great phone camera. Buttons are brown but the camera overadjusted, too much exposure.

  13. Old School Tie | December 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm |

    Every item of clothing I have constructed from Harris tweed carries the authentic Harris label. Does this have the label? I suppose it is not strictly necessary to have such a label but how do you chaps authenticate fabric if there is nothing indicating origin?

  14. Commenting on the fitting, got one authentic Brookstweed on sale in E-bay with the last amalgamate tag period 1949 62-76, size 42 L (that seems to be unaltered), and the fit appears to be in the slim side.

  15. Trevor Jones | December 16, 2018 at 1:50 am |

    Old School Tie, label is present inside

  16. A few weeks ago, the John Simons website was selling similar herringbone tweed jackets (made in London) for £395. They seem to have been taken off the site recently but they could have sold out. I’d be very grateful to anyone who can post more information on those jackets, especially if they are still in stock.

  17. I had to do a double take when I saw that jacket. I bought the identical jacket in January 2019 from John Simons, marked down to £350. I absolutely love it. Detailing is perfect, even the shirt offset back vent. Unlined. Comfortable as hell. I took it to an old school tailor to have the sleeves lengthened a tiny bit. He was amazed at the quality. Said he’d not seen off the peg stuff like that for years. There’s still 1 left in a grey herringbone (and it’s in my size!). I’ve been shopping at J Simons since the early ‘70’s, Richmond, Covent Garden & now Chiltern Street. The place is an institution.

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