Call it Japanese ingenuity through craftsmanship; an attention to detail so finely tuned that style, comfort and functionality flow seamlessly. Whether drawing from experience or from instinct, sartorially conscious New Yorkers quickly discovered Kamakura Shirts when it opened its first international door on Madison Avenue near Grand Central. Through word-of-mouth, the popularity of their finely tailored shirts designed for the most stylish supreme comfort, their highest quality fabrics such as their luxurious 300 yarn count shirts, and their genuine mother-of-pearl buttons shaped and sewn in a precisely particular manner, spread rapidly.
Each shirt is tailor made for style and comfort but if you are accustomed to bespoke, the Made to Measure service is just for you.
A family owned company lead by visionary CEO and Founder Yoshio Sadasue, Kamakura Shirts first opened its doors in Kamakura, the ancient capital of Japan located about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo. From conception, Mr. Sadasue set out to “bring great style to Japanese people.” He noticed how men looked instantly more stylish, cooler and better pulled together in Ivy League-styled shirts worn by New Yorkers, Londoners and hipster musicians back in the day. He wanted men in Japan to have easier access to attaining such style at an affordable cost.
Reviving and maintaining the Japanese tailoring industry was also a vision held by Kamakura Shirts. Japanese tailoring is one of the most skillful and technically advanced in the world; so, Sadasue decided to take a direct-to-factory approach, cutting out the middle men and instead dedicating their entire production process to small independent factories and highly trained craftsman across Japan. The tailors and craftsmen that Kamakura Shirts employs are passionate about their specific area of expertise, which can be exemplified by the simple button: Kamakura Shirts only uses shell buttons that not only looks more elegant but can tolerate ironing better than its plastic versions.
No plastic buttons here. Elegant shell buttons are sewn to withstand ironing.
Their 200 yarn count shirts are given extra treatments. The placement of a customized spinning top-like top button reduces the pressure felt around the neck when wearing a tie. The use of thread shanks on the top and cuff buttons makes repetitive buttoning and unbuttoning easier for men and the fabric, and the sixth buttonhole which is closest to the waist is horizontally placed for freer body movement. The cut and tailoring of each shirt integrates such ingenious little touches that make Kamakura Shirts incredibly comfortable to wear.
Even with all the heightened attention to detail and expertise, hiccups are inevitable when opening up a store in the heart of New York. The biggest aha! moment came quickly after opening. Customers would come in and ask why there were pockets on the shirts. In Japan, especially amongst businessmen, the preference was to have shirts with a front chest pocket to keep a pen close at hand. Aesthetically, it has become such a cultural norm in Japan that until customers at the Madison Avenue store started asking and requesting for shirts without pockets, it went unnoticed. The change was quickly made and a New York collection was launched.
Kamakura Shirts is opening a second New York store this fall in the Financial District’s new luxury shopping destination Brookfield Place. Mainly focused in Tokyo, the company now operates 25 stores in Japan.
North of Grand Central where high street fashion meets the business elite, the finest silks from Italy and France are hand sewn in Japan into one-of-a-kind ties.