Studio Tour: nanamica®

on a trip to Japan, photographer Justin Chung visited with Eiichiro Homma, the creative eye and managing director behind the Japanese outerwear-centric label nanamica, to talk performance outerwear and accessories that look the part even on the slick streets of Tokyo.
nanamica cofounder Eiichiro Homma, photographed outside his studio and showroom in Tokyo.
SPORTS AUTHORITY
The brand, which is also known for distributing Filson and the high-end North Face Purple Label in Japan, quietly got its start back in 2003. Homma, a self-proclaimed nature enthusiast, spent 20-plus years working for other outdoor labels before bringing his familiarity with performance material to create his own line of high-end outerwear that’s both functional and sharp. “I thought to myself, why don’t I try to make fashionable but practical sportswear that I’d actually want to wear?” says Homma. “I wanted to design clothes for daily life—things you’ll wear every day.”
MADE IN JAPAN
“Japan has some of the best, highest-quality materials and fabric mills out there,” says Homma of the line, which is known in cult menswear circles for its technological overhauls of classic design and slim Western cuts. This translates to details such as fully waterproof Gore-Tex® finished with contrasting buttons, hoods lined with merino wool, snap button closures as well as thoughtfully placed (and sized) pockets throughout its assortment of outerwear.



Photography by Justin Chung.

To shop our assortment of nanamica, click here.

A Moment with…Harry’s™

grooming pioneers Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider and of Harry’s™ are reinventing the shaving game.
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What moment prompted you guys to start Harry’s?
Andy: I went to a drugstore because I was out of razor blades. I waited 10 minutes for someone to unlock the case where razors were held. I then checked out, looked in my bag and found a receipt for more than 20 dollars for four razor blades and some shaving cream. I thought that there had to be a better way.

Jeff and I have been close friends for a long time. I was pretty familiar with his experience cofounding Warby Parker and saw lots of parallels. I called him, and we resolved to try to change the shaving experience for all guys by delivering really high-quality products at accessible prices through a smarter, more meaningful purchase experience.

Why are other razors so expensive?
Jeff: The industry is dominated by a couple of companies that mark up razors significantly over their cost to manufacture. They try to justify inflated prices by marketing their products as highly futuristic and technologically advanced.

Your products look really simple. Tell us about your design inspiration.
Jeff: We’ve always been fans of clean design. We love the principles espoused by folks like Dieter Rams (less, but better).

Andy: As for specific inspiration, we looked to items like fine handheld tools. For instance, our razor handles were inspired by classic but highly functional knives and pens.

Where do you go if you want to make the best razors in the world?
Jeff: Well, we found some pretty incredible razors in Germany. The process of making a razor is actually really complicated. We partnered with an amazing 90-year-old company to make Harry’s blades.

Your shaving cream is specifically designed for your blades. How did you do that?
Andy: We worked with chemists who have developed some of the finest skin-care products on the market. We gave them our blades so they could literally test-shave with formulations in real time. The cream is specifically designed to leave the face feeling great after a close shave.

What’s one shaving secret every guy should know?
Jeff: Shave with the grain. Most guys have heard this before, but the secret behind it is that everyone’s facial hair grows differently, and so your technique has to be unique to you. Staying with the grain will significantly reduce friction and razor burn and improve the shaving experience.

If you guys could shave anyone, who would it be?
Jeff: Maybe Abraham Lincoln. We’d have to have a good conversation about whether we’d just shave the mustache area or take down the whole beard. After all, his look is pretty iconic.

Andy: Or maybe one of those guys from Duck Dynasty.

Jeff Raider (above left) and Andy Katz-Mayfield (above right) were photographed in their newly minted Union Square office by Justin Chung. Jeff wears a J.Crew sportcoat and shirt, and Andy wears a slim Thomas Mason Archive for J.Crew shirt and a J.Crew slim cashmere v-neck.

To shop Harry’s grooming product assortment, click here.

A Moment with…Ursa Major®

we chatted with former New Yorkers Emily and Oliver of men’s grooming
line (and In Good Company partner) Ursa Major about life in Stowe,
Vermont, and their powder-day strategy…
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What’s topping our wish list…
“A waffle-maker and the J.Crew sequin Etta pumps. (OMG, who
doesn’t want these shoes?!)”—Emily

“A good pair of binoculars and a pair of Fair Isle camp socks.”—Oliver

How to survive a Vermont winter…
“Get your blood moving with an outdoor activity. We’re partial to
back-country and cross-country skiing.”

“Layer up on wool and stock plenty of wood for the fire.”

“Drink ‘Oli’s hot chocolate’—a mix of good chocolate, organic milk,
Stroh Rum and maple syrup.”

The Bees Knees in Morrisville is a great place to go to warm up: they’ve got
live music every night and the menu focuses on local and organic produce.
Emily gets the tofu burrito and I get the Boyden beef burger.”

On a powder day we…

“Head straight to our favorite lines in the woods with our friends in tow.
(George, our tripawd bulldog, stays at home.)”

The biggest misconception about men’s grooming products…
“Guys are quick to say, ‘I don’t need that.’  The truth is, most men could
really benefit from a simple daily skin care regimen.”

_________________

Cover Story

the inspiration behind our
DODOcase™ for J.Crew iPad covers
To help DODOcase™ create custom book-alike covers for iPad 2 and Kindle just for us, our men’s design team took a field trip to our neighborhood book shop for ideas. After scouring the shelves, dusting off covers and engaging in lots of highbrow literary discourse, they found the perfect vintage tomes to use as inspiration and sent them across the country to DODOcase headquarters in San Francisco.

See the finished DODOcases.

Jean Shop

last week, we took you inside the Manhattan outpost.
here’s an in-depth look from our In Good Company
guru at what makes our latest collaboration
“not just another pair of jeans.”
As far as we’re concerned, their classic, highly coveted jeans set the standard for all others past, present and future. Here’s an up-close look at some of the things that make these jeans so special…

1. Woven on narrow Japanese selvedge looms (this means the edge of the fabric is along the outer seam of your jean, so they look better and feel better!). It takes 21⁄2 hours to weave the fabric for one pair of jeans.
2. Hand-dated “born on date” inside each pair and lined pockets, so you won’t pull out a ball of fuzz instead of your change.
3. Hand-stitched leather patch.
4. The first company to use Riri zippers on jeans (usually they are on designer handbags and leather goods), guaranteed for life!
5. Custom fabric, designed by and made for Jean Shop…down to the yarn.
6. The narrow chain stitch on the hem creates the perfect amount of tension, so the hemline wears in perfectly.

(post by Tracy Rosenbaum)

Jean Shop

inside the in-jeanious Meatpacking outpost
of the cult-favorite denim brand
Co-owner (and denim industry vet) Eric Goldstein oversees Jean Shop’s small but obsessed-over selection of super-customizable hand-sewn jeans and shirts made of high-quality Japanese selvedge. A visit to the West 14th Street location reveals a store that’s equal parts rock ’n’ roll and gritty Americana.

1.The Jean Shop mascot is clearly the pig. In a nod to the neighborhood’s fleshy past, vintage oinkers of all kinds—in ceramic, brass and iron—dot the shelves.
2. The door to the top-secret wash room—site of raw denim transformation, where the raw denim is washed, sandpapered and whiskered to each customer’s specs—is kept firmly shut.
3. Goldstein points to Charles C. Ebbets’s iconic 1932 Lunch Atop a Skyscraper as a major source of inspiration, and even the figurines from a metal model based on the photo have been given the Jean Shop customization treatment: Witness the signature orange selvedge trim.

A few quick questions for Eric:
Q: Who is your dream customer?
A: My dream Jean Shop customer is Bruce Springsteen, and I’m happy to say that that dream has become a reality.
Q: What’s the most outrageous customization request you’ve ever gotten?
A: We were asked to bedazzle a pair of jeans with the words “Eric Clapton” running down the leg in rhinestones.
Q: Did you do it?
A: We didn’t. While we hate saying no, we have to draw the line somewhere.

Insider tip: While the Jean Shop jeans at J.Crew already feature a custom wash you can’t find anywhere else (and that we think is pretty perfect), if you crave further custom enhancements, talk to the good people at Jean Shop at 212 366 5326.

Sneak Peek

here’s a look at the inspiration journal behind our
new fall nail polishes by FACE Stockholm®.
our nails have never been happier—or brighter.
The mother-daughter duo behind FACE Stockholm launched their eponymous cosmetics line because they couldn’t find the colors they wanted anywhere else.

Here’s a look at our inspiration journal: we drew inspiration from everything—matching colors of flowers in the duo’s upstate New York backyard, and their international travels (they hail from Sweden)—to create the most covetable shades of polish. We’ve picked our favorite shades from FACE Stockholm and gave them their very own names—so you won’t find Crush Worthy, Never Nude and Hot Pepper anywhere else.

Stay tuned for custom shades from FACE Stockholm for J.Crew, launching just in time for the holidays.

A few of Marissa Webb’s (head of women’s design) notes from the process:
“Match to flowers from Martina’s garden.”
“Love the tape for color inspiration..”
“Nothing more beautiful than nature & ♥!”
“Brights & neutrals—push brighter and more intense.”

(post by Tracy Rosenbaum)

Lulu Frost for J.Crew

colorful Art Deco bracelets for a
modern-day Daisy Buchanan…
These bright, bold bangles are so
fun to stack—one is just not enough.
–Marissa, head of women’s design
Shop them exclusively at jcrew.com.

Behind the Scenes

here’s a first look at the making of one of
our favorite new collaborations—
Fratelli Rossetti S.p.A. “New Brera” loafer
Only a very specialized artisan is able to hand stitch the vamp of the shoe. The tassel is also handmade, out of one long strip of leather. Above, the upper of the shoe is being placed on the last.
After the shoe is constructed, it undergoes an unconventional treatment: It is washed in a washing machine! Finally, the shoe is polished to further enhance its well-worn look.

Check out Rossetti for J.Crew in custom colors you can’t find anywhere else (available now in select stores and this Thursday on jcrew.com).

(post by Tracy Rosenbaum; photos courtesy of Fratelli Rossetti S.p.A.)

Waxing Poetic

we sat down with the decision makers at Barbour®,
one of our favorite heritage brands that’s world
famous for their waxed cotton outerwear, to find out
a little more about the brand’s past—and their future
How did the initial design of the iconic Barbour jacket come about?
The original focus of the company was always waxed cotton garments. In the beginning, we had no design department, no marketing department, no advertising—none of those kinds of things. There was just an obsessive drive to make jackets as functional, as durable, as rugged and as well made as we possibly could. The first generation of Barbours established the business and the second generation brought their interest in motorcycling to the table (which is where the first International suit came from). Dame Margaret Barbour, who has been the chairman of the company since 1972, used to travel extensively. She picked up ideas as she moved around and applied them to what she saw in the English countryside. So we have many sources of iconic heritage, which appeals to our original customer: the ones who hunt and fish wearing Barbour. But now you can walk the streets of Soho and find the younger generation wearing our product in a different way—they’ll take a Bedale that was designed for the equestrian market and wear it three sizes smaller, so it’s more of a fashion piece.

What is the Barbour design philosophy today?
We never, ever ignore our heritage or our roots—it’s always at the heart of what we do. But we’re sensible enough to know that you’ve got to come up with fresh, exciting ways of interpreting and reinterpreting the business. The phrase we use is, “We look to surprise but never shock.” We don’t want to alarm our traditional, loyal customer, but we also want to court new customers to the brand. I think a very good example is our Beacon heritage range, which was designed in collaboration with the Japanese designer To Ki To—everyone looks at the garments and thinks, “They’re Barbour, but they’re entirely different from the original.” Like us, he’s obsessive about heritage and authenticity, and the collection he’s done for us is really very true to us, only with a fresh look.

Any new collaborations coming down the pike, or is it all top secret?
There are quite a few things we’re planning at the moment. First up is a collaboration with Rockport for a footwear range. We did a test collection with them last season, and they sold out before they got into stores. It’s a great fit for us because they’re known for comfort—you get these shoes on and it’s like putting on an old Bedale jacket that is perfectly broken in. All the shoes have an Adiprene sole, so they’re incredibly comfortable for walking—and like our jackets, they’re truly functional. We’re also doing a collaboration with Grenson, a traditional footwear manufacturer in the UK that still makes its shoes by hand. Lastly, there’s a collaboration that’s just about to hit stores with British designer Alice Temperley. She’s very British and very British in her design—she’s also very glamorous, and putting her signature prints inside our more classic garments has been a great partnership. It’s a departure, but not too much of one. Our collaborations in general have been quite rewarding: As soon as we sit down to talk to somebody, they say, “I love Barbour. I wear Barbour, my parents wear Barbour, my whole family wears Barbour, and I’d love to do something.” It’s pretty neat.

Check out Barbour at J.Crew for men and women.

With special thanks to Steve Buck, managing director, J. Barbour & Sons, Ltd.; Thomas Hooven, general manager, Barbour, Inc.; Tom Sobolewski, national sales manager, Barbour, Inc.; Jim Rood, sales, New York showroom, Barbour, Inc.

(Post by Dana Wagner and Jamie Sabuda; photo courtesy of Barbour)

© 2014 by J.Crew. All Images and materials are copyrighted by J.Crew unless otherwise noted.

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