…We love ’em!
I was thinking the other day about uniforms and appropriate clothing and what I seem to end up wearing day after day. One of my Japanese friends asked me the other day why all fashion people wear black, and I’m almost ashamed to say that my answer was that black is both undeniably cool… and easy to wear! I know, I know, it’s ridiculous that as someone who writes about Japanese fashion on a daily basis that I actually tend to dress quite simply. My tried-and-tested go-to outfit will always be boots, black trousers and a leather jacket. Bags and accessories may come and go, various tops may be worn, heel height may go up and down, and style of trouser may vary, but I always end up wearing a variation on this theme.
So why not celebrate this classic look? Samuel and I pulled out a selection of our favourite leather jackets and boots, and a couple of other bits & bobs, and started snapping…
Picking a favourite jacket is (I assume) like choosing a favourite child. Sorry kids, it’s gotta be this one! I planned out the design for this vintage lovely, and Samuel brought it to life for me as a Valentine’s Day present. I love the contrast between the traditional biker style, studded punk elements and the beautifully wa Japanese fabric on the back. Oh, and that flash of red lining – perfection!
Like all truly great jackets through the ages, this should always be worn with red lipstick and rebellion in your heart.
So, this is about as ‘designery’ as I get (and even then the Vivienne Westwood pirate boots were saved up for forever, and the Chanel Rouge Coco lippie was a PR gift – score!), and I think this collection is fairly representative on my personal attitude to fashion: brands are nice, but so are vintage, DIY and bargain bin finds. The telephone brooch was a must-buy from Bunkaya Zakkaten in Harajuku, by the way!
Now this beauty is a bit special: I was with a good friend of mine when I saw it tucked away in a vintage shop, and the combination of Gareth Pugh-esque shape, black and white and huge sleeves called out to me, and it had to be mine! A month or so later, I saw this jacket’s twin in Nude Trump – one of Tokyo greatest vintage shopping haunts. I’ve since added my own blobby 3D designs to it, and maybe I’ll get Samuel to pop in a stud or two…
Attitude and cattitude! Sculptural boots to go with a sculptural jacket, and a bright pop of orange lipstick to push it over the edge. I tend to keep my eye make-up sparse when wearing bright lipsticks, just a medium slick of black eyeliner and some mascara. I’m a recent lipstick convert, my current favourite is a tasty berry shade, and it’s fast become a staple look for me this year.
Breaking away from my beloved black for just one moment! I got this for a song in London’s amazing Brick Lane as there’s wicked sun fading, but I kind of prefer it like it this, less of a solid colour. And hey – it’s a lilac leather jacket: how on earth could I say no? I think this is about as far into kawaii fairy-kei territory as I get. Accessorised with a button-filled pin again from Bunkaya Zakkaten, and a Ticket to Darling badge from Tavuchi that makes me smile every time I look at it. One day I want to do something awesome to this jacket, perhaps involving stripes or roses, but I haven’t come up with any sufficiently fabulous ideas just yet…
What else could I put in this collection other than a glittery Jesus money box? As well as things a bit on the darker side, I do love a bit of kitsch now & again. I do enjoy being a bit matchy-matchy sometimes when it comes to colour, hence the boots, and I appreciate the stronger edge they give this coordination. Bright pink lipstick for kissing Jesus, of course.
Now on to Samuel’s choices;
The very first NOMI piece (I promise we’ll update our DIY site again soon)! The sheer weight of studs in this jacket is incredible, as is the denim lining. It feels almsot like a corset when worn, and I think Samuel would agree with me when I say that wearing it makes me feel like a crazy fashion future badass from Mad Max. It took Samuel several hours to produce, and was definitely a labour of love! I think the original vest was bought in Koenji, but it’s pretty unrecognisable now.
This is how manly this jacket makes you feel; very biker! Paired here with hand-studded boots (also by Samuel), a huge weight that my tiny arms can’t lift, and an S & A silver knuckle duster ring that was cheekily hiding in a jewellery in London a few years ago – you never know where you might find a gem!
A Jackrose jacket here – never be afraid of the mainstream end of fashion either. Samuel’s choice, as the leather piping at the sides and removable tattered hem elevate this from being commercial. It’s beautifully soft, and can be worn in a huge variety of ways, from tightly zipped and closed against the elements to undone and louche. What a stunner.
I love how there’s something of a green tint to the underside of the leather.
Eee, you can’t go wrong with Samuel’s classic style! Engineer boots from Jackrose as well, and white crocodile added by Samuel. Travis Walker chain and Stoplight cuff – a truly amazing piece of work from this Japanese biker brand. It’s a bit of a mission to find in Ebisu, but totally worth it!
And last but very much not least, Samuel’s Makin Jan Ma jacket – found in a brand resale shop in Kichijoji; one of those moments when you want to run to the till because you can’t quite believe that no one else wants it! Also found in this bargain paradise were the boots pictured below and a Comme des Garcons bag. I think we have incredible good luck whenever we visit… or more likely, we have strange taste. Nonetheless, this is a corker of a jacket: it’s just utterly perfect.
Mizpah brooch from a local market. I have a Mizpah tattoo on the back of my right leg.
A natural collection, that’s also very ‘fashion’, right? Makin Jan Ma jacket, Whoop De Doo boots (that I’m gutted are too big for me to borrow!), strange hoof knife that I got for Samuel for Christmas one year and Ann Demeulemeester faux-watch bracelet that I’m also gutted is slightly too big. There’s no DIY in this collection unusually, but instead an eclectic mix that is totally Samuel.
Thus ends our ode to our leather jackets and boots. For now, anyway…