The souvenier jacket, or Sukajan has always been one of my personal favorites. A mix of Eastern and Western fashion in the form of a silky bomber jacket, with embroidered art or design on the back and front. The design can contain very western symbols such as military motifs or eagles, or incredibly Japanese art such as cherry blossoms, dragons or Geisha. They were very popular amongst military members and biker gangs in the 1960s, and thus gained their badass and almost negative connotations. In the last ten years it could be considered a little uncool and Garish to wear such an old-style jacket, however the new season of fashion n Tokyo has re-invented the Sukajan into every kind of cute and cool style.
Noticeably the iconic Harajuku brand 6% Doki Doki, released a black and purple Sukajan with unicorn motifs that I happily snatched up. Another of my favorite brands Onespo has released an all-white version with delicate embroidered roses, meaning this style of jacket is infiltrating its way into a variety of styles.
My friend over at ACDCrag contacted me about their new collection of souvenir jackets that will be released this month, and actually let me take a peek before they were released. If you have ever been to Harajuku you will know ACDCrag, they have around four huge stores dominating Takeshita dori in a range of styles from Harajuku pastel pop, to gothic and visual-kei. They are actually dear to my heart as one of the first items of Japanese clothing I ever owned was from this store from my first trip to Japan 6 years ago. The products themselves are extremely affordable and they really have something for everyone.
Our meeting turned into an impromptu photoshoot as I selected the jacket I wanted and we began shooting. I fell in love with the combination of black, pink and red at first sight, along with the extremely intricate design of waves and dragons, reminiscent of old Japanese script paintings. I threw together a "bittersweet" outfit of pink lingerie crop top from Onespo and black plaid school-style skirt with pink platforms.
The material itself was light and silky, I felt as though I could make multiple coordinations with it and not get bored, plus it felt like literally wearing a piece of art, which is what excites me about fashion.
Pastel colors are also rarely found in Sukajan jackets, so I felt like this product is really something unique. My friend toured me around one of their main stores in Takeshita dori and I never appreciated how aggresively Kawaii and well-decorated it is, as though walking into a pastel,glittery dream . The walls are hand-painted and they change from time-to-time. Even if you aren't into fashion I suggest checking out their stores just to see a slice of Japanese contemporary art, plus all the jackets are of course, unisex and come in a variety of styles and sizes! In-store they also have examples of the jackets used in outfit co-ordinations if you need some inspiration. They usually have English speaking staff too, so don't feel shy to strike up a conversation!
The other designs include pandas, unicorns and cats and came in a range of colors. The ACDCrag staff girls are all incredibly adorable and did a wonderful job of modeling them for the website!
All the jackets are 3,900yen +tax and you can order them overseas from their Rakuten online store too. That is a steal for a wearable piece of art!
I look forward to the Autumn season Harajuku and Shibuya fashion flooded by cool, powerful guys and girls strutting around in their different Sukajan jackets!
Please check out ACDCrag on both Facebook and @acdcrag on Instagram. They sometimes make an appearance with pop-up stalls in Europe at events like Hyper Japan, too!