Ten years ago, at age 30, Shinya Hasegawa moved to New York City to attend design school and learn how to make clothing. Growing up in Tokyo he was always had a fascination with clothing, often spending hours scouring for the best vintage and seeking out the best outdoor and workwear goods from America. After earning his degree in New York, Shinya went to work for the vintage dealer What Comes Around Goes Around and then later spent four years working with Daiki Suzuki at Woolrich Woolen Mills.
During his time in Tokyo and New York, Shinya’s love of clothing paralleled his love of surfing and the outdoors. This is where the inspiration for Batten Sportswear – a new line of mens outerwear, sportswear and accessories that is launching for spring / summer 2012 – was born. Seeing the collection with Shinya in his showroom, it was clear from the outset what the concept of the collection was. Batten mixes a weekend adventure in Yosemite with a subway trip to The Rockaways, all encircled by everyday life in the city.
Batten Sportswear – which is entirely made in America – draws inspiration from vintage outdoor gear from the 1970s and 1980s, mixes in other elements from vintage American sportswear and adds in a dose of East Coast surf culture (something Shinya is passionate about, being an avid surfer). The collection ranges from jackets like the Travel Shell Parka, which is an update to the traditional 60/40. Shinya did things like change the sleeves to a two-panel design to slim them down and reduce the bulk of the original design. These design tweaks make the jackets more appropriate for use in the city as well as the outdoors, and just make them look better on. Other items in the collection, like the packable anorak, overhang shorts, beach bucket bag and the board shorts combine inspiration and needed functionality of outdoor clothing with more city-centric stylish twists.
While meeting with him it was easy to see Shinya’s passion and hard work that went into every piece of clothing; something that became more and more obvious the more we spoke. Shinya is a one man operation and he has basically built Batten from the ground up doing all of the sales, sourcing, design and marketing himself (with some help from his wife). His line is one of the coolest (and honest) that I have seen in a long time. It is amazing to see one man make such great things all by himself – no design and marketing team – just a guy taking a chance on what he is passionate about and letting his hard work lead the way. [Batten Sportswear]