W. David Marx weaves an impressive narrative from historical accounts of the menswear boon in Japan in his new book AMETORA. A slang abbreviation of “American Traditional”, the work chronicles the influence of the late Kensuke Ishizu, a unique visionary and arbiter of American style in Japan after WWII. The product of consistent cultural immersion, Marx’s connection with Japan started in high school through an exchange program then went on to major in East Asian studies at Harvard before making the permanent relocation.
“Just being in Tokyo in the late 90’s it was very clear even if you weren’t interested in clothing that people in Japan were taking clothing really seriously and that they were years ahead of the US in some ways.”
“I remember seeing people in this dark, rigid denim, recounts Marx. “It was almost ubiquitous, it had gone all the way through the market in Japan before it had really hit the US. So that really changed my perspective, growing up hearing that the Cold War ended because ‘the Russians wanted Levi’s’, that the exportation of American culture was in high demand and then going to Japan and seeing a totally different dynamic, to see brands like A Bathing Ape and others have this exclusivity and notoriety, things started to work both ways.” And from this interest in street fashion phenomena grew an intrigue in the roots of Japanese fashion, to discover what propelled a country that had been historically isolated, in geography, language, and the like.
“And I found that there was someone you could point to, not just an almagamate of influences over time but a direct effect of one man’s actions.” It’s a riveting read, part reference text, part cultural expose and part living narrative, framing a historical context around the intimate experience of a shift in perception of how a man was supposed to dress.
It was only fitting that the launch was hosted at the Warby Parker’s SoHo shop, surrounded by a wealth of equally insightful literature. The book is available now via Amazon. Enjoy the journey!