You may have heard that we were in Japan not too long ago for our yearly buying trip (Tokyo to be exact). Well, we’ve done a short interview with our awesome buying team (Jon&Chrys) to let you in on the excitement of the trip out east! Take a look...
Where did you stay? What did you eat?
We stayed at Hotel Tobu in the heart of Shibuya and it's conveniently a stones throw away from Family Mart and 7Eleven- my favourite culinary establishments. The 7Eleven food there is so much less processed and better prepared- everything from prepared classic Japanese rice dishes, to noodles and the best egg salad sandwiches. It's also the easiest place to pick up a piece of fruit or a salad which is hard to come by in the city.
We ate at Genki the first night we got in which is an amazing conveyor belt sushi restaurant, super delicious and affordable, Jonathan crushed 11-15 plates every time. On Thursday night we had dinner with Brett Viberg and Lewis the owner of Superdenim at a spot in Shibuya called Kaikaya By The Sea. They're renowned for all the celebrity photos on the walls and the tuna cheek dish that they do as well as the sakura ice cream they serve at the end.
Afterwards we went to a bar nearby called Grandfather's and they play old dad rock and you can pay for a bottle and hang out for as long as you want. Two spots that quickly became favourites was Fuglen for coffee in the morning and then around the corner was Path Café which turned out to be a gem. Fuglen was born from a Norwegian's love for Tomigaya, which is a low key stylish neighbourhood about a 20 minute walk from Shibuya's craziness. Path Café was created by two ex Hyatt Regency chefs, one of which was the first Asian pastry chef at famed French restaurant Troisgros which explains why the croissants and pastries are to die for.
Another go-to in Tomigaya is Camel Back who makes stellar sandwiches and dark roast espresso. We also had lunch with James, the previous Gitman Vintage Director of Sales at a classic tonkatsu spot called Maisen. The pork and fried panko crust was moist and crunchy and light
How did you relax from the hectic work day?
We didn't relax! We would literally stay on our feet all day starting at 8:30am and get back to the hotel around 9:30 and do pushups, stretch and yoga and crash.
Brands that you saw and took a look at and why? Any new brands?
The McCoy's shows in Yokohama at The Clutch Show, a very curated heritage, motorcycle lifestyle menswear trade show. It takes place in a beautiful building off of Osanbashi Pier. McCoy's keep slaying the high end repro game- they've improved their cuts to accommodate modern sized men, adding more room to the body and armpit of most of their jackets and tops.
We saw Warehouse & Co. on day 2 in Ebisu. It was a great chance for us to meet the creator Mr. Fujuki and try on some different denim fits. He showed us his interpretation of a 40s, 50s, 60s denim. We finally had a chance to try on his knits and flannels which are amazing in person and something we will be adding to the collection in the coming seasons.
We met with Beams+ in their office in the heart of Harajuku, it's also conveniently located across from their four stores. We'd already submitted our AW19 buy but we had a chance to say hello to the team and catch up. Their office is in a beautiful building and the walls leading into their offices this time around were painted by artist Yusuke Hanai.
The Edwin Japan meeting was super memorable. They have a very lively, talented and gracious team. We had the opportunity to meet the designers behind, Edwin Japan, Edwin Europe and Edwin USA. They really took the time to get to know us and present the brand to us. The Edwin Europe collection is our very favourite as it showcases the best fits and materials. We're trying our best to get them into the shop.
What to look out for coming soon from Japan?
Look out for looser fits, jeans that will fit the common man, more colours and textures from the McCoy's.
Overall experience from the trip?
BEST JAPAN TRIP EVER. We're just getting a lot more familiar with Tokyo, we (Jonathan mostly) have a better lay of the land and retail just gets more and more inspiring every time we visit.
I think one of the more inspiring aspects of our trip is the way Japan approaches retail. Their service, curation and attention to detail is by far one of the most extensive and precise approaches we have ever seen. Their stores are beautiful in how they present their not only their clothes but the brands they carry. Unlike anything we see in North America or around other parts of the world.