This year at (capsule) things just came out a bit dull for me. Despite these past couple years where it feelss like we’re cycling through trends at breakneck speed, menswear is still a painstakingly slow industry, and while there were a lot of brands that I like and wear at the show, there weren’t many new discoveries for me. Out of everything that I saw, the only brand that’s still stuck on my mind these weeks later is Journal Standard, a Japanese brand that has built up a large following abroad but hasn’t really broken into the U.S. market yet. In fact, Journal Standard is so new to the western world that finding any real info on the brand (without the aide of Google Translate that is) proved to be next to impossible.
In the states it’s carried by Bodega in Boston and Unionmade out in San Francisco, although I couldn’t tell if they are still actively stocking the brand, or if it was just a one season deal. From one source I read that the brand’s been around for over a decade, while another said that it had only been around since 2008. I’m not sure which is true, but considering Journal Standard’s thirty-four stores across Japan, Hong-Kong, and Paris, I’d venture to guess they’ve been dominating abroad for years now, with their push into the U.S. market only being a recent phenomena.
While their backstory is jumbled, Journal Standard’s structure is very typical of Japanese retail. The brand’s layout is reminiscent of United Arrows, with separate brands and stores that stock their own lines as well as third-parties, and cover everything from higher end clothes to housewares. As for their menswear assets, there’s Journal Standard, J.S. Homestead, Journal Standard Trisect, and Journal Standard Relume. Now I’ll admit, in contrast to United Arrows, I don’t really sense a strong distinction between any of these brands. They’re all clearly inspired by the Japanese interpretation of American workwear, with a much more comfortable, relaxed feel to all their pieces. Throughout the line’s there’s lots of variations of blues, neutral colors, collared knits, and unstructured jackets.
I suppose if I had to break it if up, I would say Journal Standard is a casual blend of trad and heritage with touches of bold pattens such as floral and camo. J.S. Homestead is the closest to true workwear, think more chore jackets and denim. Trisect features classics such as slimmer knits, ties, blazers, khakis and button ups, for a line that’s more directly inspired by Ivy than workwear. And finally Relume is unisex basics, which reminds me of a more heritage Uniqlo. Although with Journal Standard, focusing on the minutiae that distinguish the lines ignores the brands greatest asset, their individual pieces. Journal Standard is never stronger than when it’s looked at piece by piece, because throughout the brand they use some of finest Japanese textiles and patterns, which creates that washed texture that’s become so desirable as of late. The clothes are comfortable and warm in a way that has nothing to do with temperature, and with brands such as R by 45 RPM, Kapital, and even Visvim already having a strong impact on the American menswear landscape, I see no reason why Journal Standard shouldn’t be next in line.
Journal Standard Trisect
Journal Standard Relume