Pick Up The Ultimate Souvenir

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CRAFT: Pick up the Ultimate Souvenir

Baseball jackets inspired by Japanese sukajan became a fast-fashion hit after catwalk designers drew inspiration from Japan’s one-of-a-kind ‘souvenir jackets’. But nothing beats an original, so for those looking for the ultimate souvenir, track down a vintage sukajan on your next trip to Japan.

With a unique military history, sukajan dates back to the end of the Second World War, when remnants of silk parachute capes were used by American soldiers posted in Japan to create varsity-style sports jackets. Before travelling home, many soldiers had their jackets decorated with intricate Japanese embroideries, as a memento of their time in the far-east. Often made to be reversible, tattoo-style designs commonly featuring dragons, tigers or snake motifs adorn the back of the jackets, creating a unique sartorial mash-up of eastern and western cultures.

After the war, local tailors continued to make sukajan jackets – popularised locally by the sukaman fashion movement – similar to ‘greaser’ style in the West. Today, original souvenir jackets are highly collectable and can be found in vintage stores across Japan – head to Tokyo’s Harajuku, Koenji or Shimokitazawa districts for the pick of the bunch.

Images: Worn Publications

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