A new book titled Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style analyzes the unique relationship between American and Japanese menswear. Written by a rising fashion historian, W. David Marx, the book tells the story of how Japan imitated, assimilated and perfected traditional American fashion. Marx documents the profound effect Japan has had on America's designers and fashion—and vice versa.
In a recent interview with Fashionista, Marx remembered when he first started to notice the power Japanese fashion had in America: “It was always shocking to me that a Japanese brand could capture the American imagination, but I think Evisu in the '90s, with the jeans with the white seagull, and then the A Bathing Ape in the 2000s proved the point that Japanese brands could really become a driving force in Western pop culture.”
From high-end denim to oxford shirts, Japanese designers have taken the classic American look made it a mainstream staple through companies such as Uniqlo, Kamakura Shirts, Evisu, and Kapital. The book touches on this history and also focuses on how modern Japanese brands are showing an appreciation for the past but not letting it get in the way of their own vision.
“Young designers aren't just trying to [replicate the past.] Visvim and Engineered Garments are the ones that know everything about the history of American clothing, but they do not want to make replicas. What they want to do is push it and make something new that reflects that history, but is not a replica of it,” says Marx.
Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style is available now via Basic Books.