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GINZA SIX EDITORS

ファッション、ジュエリー&ウォッチ、ライフスタイル、ビューティ、フード…
各ジャンルに精通する個性豊かなエディターたちが、GINZA SIXをぶらぶらと
歩いて見つけた楽しみ方を綴ります。

Comfort and Inspiration from Reaching Without Overreaching

小澤 匡行

GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.37

I was obsessed with street culture when I was in my adolescence, so I typically found what I needed in Shibuya or Harajuku. Now that I’m an adult, the values and standards that govern what I want and what I believe suits me vary significantly, depending on the setting, whether liberal or quite conservative. It’s wonderful to see people enjoying today’s fashions while at the same time affirming their own formative fashion experiences; that’s something I find very stylish. In short, I’m for things de facto over things de jure. At GINZA SIX, in the same spaces as luxury and lifestyle brands, I now find that the brands I encountered and loved on the street are offering fashion for the streets that adult tread. It’s not about reaching beyond yourself. You really can discover some truly de facto standards. Today, I visited three boutiques with this in mind.

The first is SOPH., which carries three brands: SOPHNET., uniform experiment, and F.C. Real Bristol. I’ve been a fan of the brand for 17 years. For SOPHNET. in particular, I’ve helped produce its catalogs for some 10 years, so I’ve seen the continuing evolution of the brand in pursuit of the contemporary. A store staff mentions that the brand has close connections to soccer culture, something few customers know today. But to me the influence is evident here and there. My time off these days is almost entirely spared for taking my son to soccer games or watching his team play, so it’s something that draws me even closer to the brand.

These Vans SK8-Mid (14,000 yen; all prices listed before tax) had just been released at the time I was doing the legwork for this piece. The high-cut and low-cut Old Skool are standard, but the mid-cut, which you don’t see much in Japan, is worth noting. I used to buy these a lot when I’d go on business trips to the US. This custom model features SOPHNET.’s trademark heel zipper, something that makes them truly easy to put on and take off. I looked online later as I wrote this piece; by that time, they were sold out everywhere. I regret missing out and realize I need to see these encounters as once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

The basic apparel items in seasonal colors and patterns are convenient when you want to look simple but add a little fun to your look. It’s been almost 20 years now since SOPH. was established, and the brand has grown up quite a bit. The F.C. Real Bristol brand offers custom items like the Helinox chair (19,000 yen), Coleman cooler (6,000 yen), and a stacksto storage bucket (3,800 yen) for which you can imagine a thousand weekend uses. Incidentally, even now, the bucket is made in France.

Next, I go to N.HOOLYWOOD, a brand concerned more with locating the contemporary than with nostalgia. A no-frills interior highlights the products; a stark distillation of the brand’s worldview, it’s the polar opposite of the Omotesando flagship store. But, for adults, the boutique here makes everything easy to view.

Just like at the other N.HOOLYWOOD stores, there’s a large potpourri in front of the cash register. I’d always wondered about this, so I take the opportunity to ask. Fascinating as it is, the potpourri is from the oldest apothecary in Florence, Italy.

The publications I’m involved with often report on various things that interest brand designer Daisuke Obana, and what catches his eye is always very inspiring. What I like most at N.HOOLYWOOD is the combination of modern materials and a vintage archive that embodies the individuality of Obana, a designer with a deep knowledge of vintage clothing. You can sense his good taste in some of the striking recent decisions made regarding materials: unspecified fibers, silk, and high-quality wool. The brand’s balance of casual and class creates the perfect level of comfort for everyday adult wear. I notice that the Gramicci custom pants (32,000 yen), which I happen to be wearing today, are made from a fine soft wool. I tried on a navy pair of these on another assignment and was so struck by the comfort I bought them; today, I learned they come in black, too, so I’m considering another pair.

N.HOOLYWOOD, in passing, offers a selection of sneakers beloved of those in the know. The New Balance 990 (25,000 yen) has a military feel, which is one of the brand’s proud themes, and the custom Top Sider (14,000 yen) has been redone in leather; they’re both perfect for adult feet this summer, offered as a special selection with the tongues of shoes featuring a brand logo. The brand this season exhibits hints of the essence of American Trad, a theme on which I think these choices are based.

Lastly, I head to Gyokusendo, a store I’ve been interested in lately. I’d heard its Aoyama store was offering a workshop in March on making a copper bookmark, something that piqued my interest. Traditional techniques for hand-hammered copperware, formed from a single sheet of copper, have been passed down for 200 years at this long-standing proprietor from Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture. Hand-hammered copperware is one of the traditional crafts of the Tsubame-sanjo district, which is also one of Japan’s premier manufacturing areas. It’s where many of the Apple products I love are polished and where SUWADA nail nippers are made. The Gyokusendo brand is particularly well-known globally. The brand has collaborated with the champagne Louis Vuitton Group brand and with automaker Mazda, among others. Hand-hammered copperware has been designated an intangible cultural property of Japan, and the history and aesthetics embodied in this copperware are now being broadly communicated to the contemporary world.

Unfortunately, I can’t drink alcohol, so I opt for tea ware over sake ware. The copper isn’t actually pounded and stretched; it’s rounded and shrunk while being hammered. It’s a sophisticated technique that depends in part on the artisan’s intuitions. Above all, Gyokusendo’s colors are beautiful. I did some research on Mashiko pottery not too long ago and saw the beautiful blue color that comes from salt-firing, and I’ve been under the spell of blue vessels ever since. The methods and approaches of the two crafts differ, but this recent experience heightened my interest in Gyokusendo.

I’m told the brand’s blue is produced by coloring the vessel black with potassium sulfide, then drying and polishing the vessel, then finally by boiling the vessel in colored water in a subtle manner. I find myself inspired by the staff member’s passionate and detailed explanation and purchase a blue tea canister (24,000 yen), something just right for a beginner.

I’ve recently come across an herb tea featuring organic verbena grown in southern Germany, and drinking it during downtimes at work is among my little pleasures. To this small ritual, I now get to add the sophisticated maneuver of removing tea leaves stored in this stylish container.

A year has passed since GINZA SIX first opened. I enjoyed a leisurely visit there today for the first time in a while. On my first visit, the air amid all the hustle and bustle felt strained and thin; this wasn’t the case at all this time. This time it struck me as a world to go looking for true-to-life things, that I myself like, with no sense of an obligation to reach beyond. I was also pleasantly inspired to reexamine the things I love, which is perhaps a good way for an adult to spend a day off.

Text:Masayuki Ozawa   Photos:Yuichi Sugita   Edit:Yuka Okada

editors_ozawa

小澤 匡行

2001年より大学在学中より、フリーのライター活動を開始。現在は雑誌『UOMO』や『MEN’S NON-NO』などの編集に加え、広告やカタログにて活動。著書にスニーカー文化の発展の歴史を証言的に編纂した『東京スニーカー史』、日本語監修した『SNEAKERS』がある。前述の『UOMO』をはじめ『eyescream』、『文春オンライン』など紙媒体やウェブ媒体にて連載コラムを寄稿。
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2018.04.17 UP