Not So Standard.

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For many Japanese brands, it’s not enough to only have one line. Companies like Beams, Ships, and United Arrows love to stack up sub-brands and diffusion lines like a hastily made parfait of complementary aesthetics, which each layer bleeding over into the offer. The differences between two given brands under the same umbrella can often be tough to discern – one might be workwear-meets-streetwear, while the other might be streetwear-meets-workwear. It all tends to get lost in translation. Fortunately for Western audiences though, Japanese brands are also known for being masters of visual merchandising. Often times each label will get it’s own lookbook or ad campaign, which is (in most cases) the closest that we’ll ever come to actually interacting with these brands, as many of them are not widely available outside of Japan. This no longer rings as true for Beams and United Arrows, which have recently upped their American and European stockists, but it is still quite true for Journal Standard, another multi-label Japanese brand.

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Online Journal Standard doesn’t list their accounts outside of Asia, but it is currently carried by Unionmade and END and in the past Gentry and Present have stocked some of their wares. Like many comparable Japanese brands though, Journal Standard’s collection is vast, and so for those of us without direct access to a JS flagship, the brand is best experienced online in catalog form. And this is where things get slightly complicated, because the Journal Standard catalog is divided between JS’ four brands – Journal Standard, Journal Standard Homestead, Journal Standard Trisect, and Journal Standard Relume. It’s also worth mentioning that they style these looks using a blend of private label pieces and third party brands, therefore again, it’s best to look to the catalog as an exercise in styling.

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If I had to describe them individually, I would say that Journal Standard is an amalgam of Japanese streetwear with the sort of looks you’d see at Paris fashion week. Homestead is more focused on western workwear, sort of like a more muted version of Polo Country, or an echo of My Own Private Portland, while Trisect is more directly derived from a neapolitan sensibility, with brighter colors and patterns. And finally Relume which exudes a minimalist, Scandinavian-esque look, layering tailored outerwear with streetwear underneath.

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This all falls apart though when you recognize that Trisect also features denim looks and Barbour type coats that would look more comfortable in the Homestead collection. Or that the Homestead collection without the use of blanket prints is pretty identical to the mainline. Or that none of the collections really stray too far from the brown, blue, and grey palette. Or that JS just introduced a new line titled Aqualinc which I wouldn’t have been able to identify without a signpost at the bottom of the page. Honestly though, it’s best to not worry about the distinctions between the labels, because as one complete catalog it’s rife with inspiration. Just don’t sweat the small stuff, like you know, what brand it actually belongs too.

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Relume Relume1

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Comments on “Not So Standard.

    Jacobon February 11, 2015 @ 9:56 PM:

    As someone who recently travelled to Japan I’m disappointed you didn’t mention their two other lines: J.S. Burger and J.S. Pancake Cafe.

    The burgers were great! When we went they were doing a Ghostbusters by J.S. Burger line. Why? Because Japan.

    It’s crazy how in Japan a “lifestyle brand” truly encapsulates all aspects of life.

    Also surprised that no one is talking about Urban Research, I found them to be on par with BEAMS and JS, but they get no coverage online.

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