Kamakura Shirts, A Family Company

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Last night Kamakura Shirts held a party celebrating the opening of its second New York store, located Downtown at Brookfield Place. The party was held at an event space in SoHo and was far more packed than these photos may suggest. And yet the crowd all seemed to be part of a family that Kamakura has made for itself here in New York.

The company was founded by Yoshio Sadasue, and both his wife and daughter work for the company. Last night’s party brought together a range of Kamakura’s colleagues and loyal customers in an atmosphere of utmost fraternity. Noteworthy attendees were asked to introduce themselves to the crowd via microphone, and many were given prizes at the end of the night. Kamakura impresses not only with its quality standards, but the tremendous respect for its customers, whom it embraces in a way that feels anything but contrived. And Mr. Sadasue never tires of saying how grateful he is for Ivy Style’s first coverage of the brand, which got the word out. Mr. Sadasue is seen above applauding, but it’s really he who deserves a hand.

The event’s guest of honor was Graham Marsh, the English Ivy author and illustrator who’s done a collaboration with Kamakura called Vintage Ivy.

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Here he is having his scarf inspected by Mrs. Sadasue:

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When I walked in the door I was handed a program and drink and immediately bumped in to Mr. Sadasue. Marsh just got his scarf tuggged, I got my beard grabbed. I explained to him that it was “bankara Ivy.

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I spent some time talking golf with this fellow, who seemed to be simply a customer; here he is with Nanako Sadasue, daughter in the family:

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Gentleman in crested blazer:

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This dapper fellow was brought before the crowd:

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As for me, the last time I had a microphone in my face and a Japanese audience was over 20 years ago when I sang “Sukiyaki” at a karaoke bar in the suburban city of Matsuyama. I managed to stumble my way through in Japanese, pointing out that my suit had been made by Kamakura’s suit brand Tex-Teq (not available in the US), that Kamakura was a great company, and, when the emcee asked me why, said that its shirts were better than Brooks. The emcee said “much, much better” and the crowd cheered.

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At the end of the night, all those who remained were brought together for a group photo. There’s no better testament to the family feeling Kamkura fosters than this. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

Kamakura (1105 of 1109)Photos by Shino Yanagawa.

23 Comments on "Kamakura Shirts, A Family Company"

  1. Gilbert Chesterton | November 18, 2015 at 3:24 pm |

    I certainly dig Kamakura’s quality. It just seems the size and styles I like are all too popular and perennially out of stock.

  2. That is an excellent suit you are wearing, sir. Could you give more details about the brand and how the suits are made? It looks made-to-measure, at the very least.


    (Watashi mo gakko de nihongo o benkyoshimashita).

    Although I got bad grades 🙁

  3. Bags' Groove | November 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm |

    The boss looks the business. How I love and adore deep blue shirts with Milano or cutaway collars. They featured more than any other during my beavering years. A pilgrimage to Kamakura NYC has now become well overdue.

  4. Aha! Thanks for the link. I also see they have a website.

    My google search yielded no results. Thanks for enlightening me.

  5. I had spelled it wrong in this post (now fixed). Tex-Teq stands for textile and technique.

  6. CC, Have you abandoned the Princeton cut altogether or shall you return?

  7. I tried to say “Kamakura Club Collar” five times fast and I could not do it. It is very nice look though!

  8. Bankton Liggett-Smith | November 19, 2015 at 2:18 am |

    It would have been nice to see at least one guest wearing a button down collar.

  9. Bags' Groove | November 19, 2015 at 4:01 am |

    Graham Marsh wouldn’t have been wearing anything other than one of his Kamakura vintage navy oxford button-downs. So fret no longer.

  10. Ward Wickers | November 19, 2015 at 6:32 am |

    I went to order a couple of shirts from their on-line store but had to hesitate. I am interested in their NY Classic fit, as I assume that would be closest to the old BB shirt. I wear a 16 x 34, but the only size I saw offered in an OCBD was 16 x 35.5. Also, there were three different NY Classic Fit OCBD shirts offered. I couldn’t quite figure out what the differences are. Am I missing something or is Is this just early-onset Alzheimer’s showing up?

  11. Bankton Liggett-Smith | November 19, 2015 at 11:03 am |

    @Bags’ Groove
    Upon close examination, Mr. Marsh does indeed seem to wearing a button down collar Black Watch shirt, sans necktie. Unfortunately, the collar is buttoned.

  12. I thought he was wearing a dark chambray-type shirt. Anyway, I’m sure it’s from his Kamakura collection and there were only four or so fabrics, so it must be one of those.

    But yes the collar was indeed buttoned to the top sans cravatte. Unfortunate, but he’s old and old people do that sort of thing.

  13. Lovely stuff…

    I do notice however that your suit and Tailor Caid suits seem to not get the natural shoulder look? Is this much of an issue in Japan with the ivy crowd? Or is it that the Yanks and the Brits are overly obsessed?

  14. Charlottesville | November 19, 2015 at 1:17 pm |

    Very nice, Christian. Your suit looks great with the pinned club collar, a look to which I also am partial.

  15. @Bop

    In the link to the original post on the suit, I think I described it as unpadded but with a shoulder head. Obviously not exactly the same as kosher Ivy. Bloggers can’t be choosers, of course, so they made it the way they make it.

    I’ve got Paul Winston working on something now, where I can try to micromanage the most sloping shoulder line he can possibly make.

  16. “over obsessed” about a certain Platonic form of the natural shoulder is spot on. Take a look at pre-Heyday Brooks jackets–both suit and country/sport. The no. 1 sack featured a natural but far from Neapolitan (“shirtsleeve”) shoulder. My favorite era is the 50s, when the Brooks sack was the paragon of soft tailoring but featured “just enough” padding. I (correctly, I think) affiliate the slouchy, super-sloped, unpadded shoulder with a particular school of Italian tailoring. It wasn’t/isn’t the American sack jacket. Neither Brooks…


    …nor Press:


  17. The Brooks jackets in the first picture are circa ’55. The second picture features a page of a 1958 J. Press catalog. Plenty of lapel. Plenty of shoulder (take a look at the point-to-point). No front darts. Minimal shaping–straight lines. Substantial cloth (no flimsy, mushy super one hundred and whatever).

  18. @S.E. This is good stuff. I appreciate those photos. So does this mean we shouldn’t be complaining about the S. Cohen shoulders on the Press sport coats these days? Maybe they’re more period correct than we think? For me, the natural shoulder is certainly the most difficult Ivy appointment to judge, unless its way out there.

  19. Well stated. My complaint about the Cohen shoulders has more to do with what appeared to be roping at the sleevehead–not unlike what we see on CC’s suit jacket. Not quite that pronounced.

    A rounded, natural sleevehead and a reasonable amount of padding is, for me, the ideal.

  20. Ah, I see what you’re saying.

    For reference, here is the S. Cohen shoulder from the Press store in D.C. from a few weeks ago and it looks not too roped. Maybe they fixed that or maybe my eye isn’t so good:


    And here is the shoulder from their offerings from Empire (also from Canada) which I like a lot more. I ended up purchasing the jacket:


  21. Bags' Groove | November 20, 2015 at 6:11 am |

    Hey Christian, Graham Marsh may be old, but Kamakura didn’t come and ask you to design their Vintage Ivy shirts for them, did they? Though I have to agree that a tie would have been appropriate with that navy button-down.

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