Preppy style as we know is nothing new, but in the late 1950s Kensuke Ishizu kick-started a clothing revolution that is still influential today. Founder of the brand VAN, Ishizu was preoccupied with the style found in US Ivy League colleges – plaid shirts, loafers, college sweaters – and by the mid-1960s the new breed of fashion-obsessed teenagers in Japan were happy to buy into the Ivy style too. The seminal book Take Ivy is a must for anyone interested in both American and Japanese Ivy style, as is this article on the life and career of Ishizu – after all it was he alone who brought Ivy style to Japan, showing that one person can bring about a nation-wide trend.
Ame-kaji (American casual) has been a gyaru trend on and off for a few years to varying degrees – it’s not so long ago that you couldn’t move for cowboy boots and Stetsons on the bustling Tokyo streets, and I think of late ame-kaji has moved more towards the so-called geek-chic end of the spectrum with Oxford brogues (I have a fantastic bright pink pair), classic hats, large farmed glasses, and buttoned up shirts and bow ties popping up, particularly in Shibu-Hara fashion bible PopSister magazine.
When I was last in WC, with Take Ivy on my mind, I couldn’t help but notice the ‘preppy’ touches here and there – read on for more from Take Ivy and Chinatsu’s WC…
Wakatsuki Chinatsu’s designs have always been about the fun of fashion, and I think that’s something she and Ishizu have in common – appreciation of classic style, and the confidence to bring that style to a whole new audience.
WC doing a bang-up job of representing contemporary ame-kaji
Take Ivy: jaquard sweaters & baseball jackets
WC’s jaquard cardigan hitting the right notes with Nordic imagery and the Kuma-tan logo – love the braids and bow tie too!
College t-shirts and plaid shirts
I don’t know about you, but I kind of miss the days when students dressed like this and it was considered rebellious!
I would detail my love for this jumper but the navy is almost exactly identical to my high school uniform – shock horror! Ah, the things I used to get up to with my uniform: shredding the sleeves, adding safety pins to the blazer, making sure I was always wearing a jumper at least three sizes too big… I don’t think Ishizu would approve, and neither did my school!
*A modified version of this article also appears on the Brighton Fashion Week blog – take a look for a more UK-specific notion of the preppy trend*