Rising Sun: A Kamakura News Update

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We’re long overdue for an update on Kamakura Shirts. A couple months ago I had coffee with the NYC store manager and a a member of the founder’s family visiting from Japan, and they said the New York store is doing just great. In fact, they’re currently scouting for a second NY location, likely in the Financial District.

They were eager to point out that they’re not just about shirts. Their necktie range is expansive, and includes ties in fabrics from England and Italy as well as Japan. You can read about the fabrics and manufacturing here. They’ve also got a wide selection of pocket squares with plenty of trad appeal.

The brand was also recently featured in a Smithsonian Magazine article entitled “How Japan Copied American Culture And Made It Better,” from which the above photo of Kamakura founder Yoshio Sadassue is taken.

Finally, last December the brand held an Ivy party in Tokyo (multiple representatives from Ivy-Style.com, alas, were unable to attend). Head over here for party pix and see how it all went down. — CC

16 Comments on "Rising Sun: A Kamakura News Update"

  1. I like Kamakura, but I do get conflicted not buying American made Brooks and so on. However, their value, quality, and dedication to Ivy Style is hard to beat.

    I’d like to see chinos, blazers, and suits available state side. Maybe one day.

  2. A hoped-for return to Japan will definitely include a visit to Kamakura in Tokyo. Japan has always been a major flag-bearer of Ivy style. Yet Yoshio Sadasue chose an Englishman to design his Vintage Ivy range of shirts, proving that Graham Marsh and JP Gaul’s little book was far more important than many were prepared to concede.

  3. They’re not really competing with Brooks until they offer the range of sizes Brooks does. As it stands they’ve got offerings only for Japanese ex-pats and Americans who happen to about the same size as Japanese ex-pats.

  4. @Ickenham
    But the ‘Marsh Ivy’ shirt was a bit of a flop with many complaints about shrinkage and mean fit. I think Kamakura and Co should stick to their knitting and concentrate (and consolidate, yes some well cut chinos would be great) on their core, fairly conservative, Ivy/Trad values.

  5. I was able to try the ‘Marsh shirt on in the store so the fit wasn’t an issue. It’s a very well made shirt and my only criticism would be that, compared to my 80’s BB shirt, the six buttons start a bit too high so unless you’re wearing corresponding 60’s, hi-rise, pants, it may open up at the waist. Still, the store provided some of the best customer service I ever experienced. I look forward to their line expanding.

  6. Philly Trad | August 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm |

    From the Smithsonian article:

    “… Brooks Brothers and J. Press, the icons of American preppy wear, what cognoscenti call ‘trad’ and the Japanese call ‘Ivy style’.”

    The writer seems to think that the terms “preppy”, “trad”, and “Ivy (style)” are interchangeable and do not refer to different styles, but according to who is using those terms.

  7. Waldo Walters | August 8, 2014 at 12:27 am |

    Darts. Yuck. Those are for blouses, not OCBDs.

  8. @ CeeEm

    You’ve totally missed my point. As for Kamakura’s quality, I suggest a little more homework.

  9. @Ickenham
    The Japanese domestic market Kamakura ‘Ivy’ series was more varied in cloth, cut and rather more ‘authentic’ than the two curate’s egg Marsh examples. It sold very quickly while the Marsh remnants languish. The influence of the ‘blue book’ on Kamakura is minor at best.

  10. @CeeEm.

    It would make no sense whatsoever for a Japanese company entering the US market to offer their product in a less “authentic” form from their domestic product, particularly when the product in question is a shirt as American as apple pie.
    The influence of Graham Marsh’s book may have been minor, but the influence of Graham Marsh was major, otherwise why would Kamakura have asked him to design their Vintage Ivy shirt?

  11. If they made a 15/32 in the New York classic fit I would gladly buy one. I might have to try the Tokyo classic at some point.

    I will say that I like their shirt offerings. They offer a few items that most others don’t and offer them cheaper than the few that have them do.

    Ickenham – Dare I say it… marketing? I will also admit that I don’t know who Graham Marsh is.

  12. @Philly Trad

    “Trad” is not a term dependent on who is using it and how?

  13. @Christian

    «Preppy», «Ivy», and «Trad» are interchangeable?

  14. I’ve shared my thoughts on Ivy and preppy in the rise and fall essay as well as here:

    http://www.ivy-style.com/same-or-different-ivy-versus-preppy.html

    As to “trad,” I don’t believe it has a denotative meaning. Fun and snappy to use now and then, though.

  15. I lived in Japan for 16 years and found Tokyo to be a very fashionable place, far more so than most any place in the States. The Japanese take elements “Preppy,” “Ivy” and “Trad” but are not bound by them like most American men are so you don’t see young men walking around the streets of Tokyo wearing navy blazers that are too long with brass buttons paired with pleated khakis and a baggy oxford and loafers thinking they are well-dressed much less stylish.

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