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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Number One Aspirational Menswear Item In 2016 - The Re-defined Sukajan Bomber Jacket

Sukajan (スカジャン) are, in their most basic and historic form, a synthetic bomber jacket which is either quilted or non-quilted and is usually a mixture of contrast colours between the sleeves and the body which has then been heavily embroidered on.

The nature of Sukajan was that they were originally post World War 2 "souvenir" jackets that were commissioned by American soldiers residing in Japan to commemorate their service in Japan. The vintage Sukajan jackets from this period still fetch a great deal of money on Ebay and on specialist websites which sell vintage Sukajan.

The jacket is also associated with subversive Japanese culture and is featured in popular anime and on characters that are often rebellious youthes. It was also the favoured look of young wannabe yakuza gangsters in Japan.

You may want to know what the difference is between sukajan and what we wrote about in July and in August last year, which are commonly referred to as 'bomber jackets'. The main difference between these jackets is that sukajan are usually constructed from cheaper polymer satin materials which give a brighter, more light reflective finish, but most of all, they are heavily embroidered, and in the case of the vintage ones, a lot of this was done by hand and features themes from cherry blossoms to sky dragons and the rising sun which runs across the panels of the jacket, making it exceptionally time consuming to have done.

Bomber jackets themselves are nothing new, and artists like Pharell Williams have been wearing silk Hermes and designing Adidas bomber jackets over the past two years, all of which are variations on a bomber jacket. These bomber jackets are also closely related to varsity jackets in terms of construction and make except to say that, as a general rule, varisty jackets are heavier and often feature wools and leathers and are done up using stud pressed buttons. 

The rise of the Sukajan is, therefore, merely an extension of the rise of the more casual 'bomber' style jacket which is occurring but it perhaps denotes the intention of designers to focus more on the vibrancy of colour and print technology across panels as well as embroidery and quilting, as part of the renewed interest in this area of bomber jackets. It will also be interesting to note whether they improve on the base fabric materials  being offered in the construction of these jackets, which are often reversible. In my own experience the most beautiful jackets have been made by Hermes and Chanel for women, whilst the best constructed ones have been made by Brioni for men.

An excellent example of pannelled embroidery on a sukajan jacket from Japan featuring traditional Japanese wave and cherry blossom art. 

A quilted sukajan
Often made with polymer man-made fibres, many Sukajan jackets offer a very reflective or shiny appearance.

Sukajan jackets are often favoured by youthful subversive types.

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