Ivy-San: When Tokyo’s youth graduated to the Ivy League, with Honours.

Here at Oliver Spencer we have always embraced simplicity of design and a pleasure in the tactility of fabrics and pattern. Form and function will always usurp fashion for us and we’ll always have fun doing so. We are neither Ivy nor Preppie but share a common enjoyment of casual formality from penny loafers to cardigansblazers and button downs. With the Olympic games in full flow we had a look back at the first Tokyo games in 1964 and what was happening then. There were some strange similarities one such story unfolds below.

“Social gatherings are discouraged”. Now that does seem like a very  contemporary policy but in 1964 when Tokyo hosted its first Olympics this was also very much the case. The gatherings in question were the start of a youth movement known as the Miyuki-zoku or Miyuki tribe. Young Japanese kids, male and female, who were adopting the Ivy League look of the North East coast of the US. Miyuki was the street in Ginza where the kids gathered. This worried the authorities who with the police arranged a “Big Ivy Style Meet-up” at which attendees would receive a free Van bag, into which they put their regular clothes having changed into their subversive chinos and button downs. They anticipated that about 300 kids would show up in the end around 2000 were there to hear Kensuke Ishizu ask them to stop mustering.

Kensuke Ishizu was the the pioneer of the introduction of this look to Japan establishing Van Jacket, a label that would become synonymous with the Ivy Look and held its own in Japan besides the originators in the US. The police then followed up to ensure the message was received and understood arresting 200 of the Miyuki-zoku faithful, message received and the streets of Ginza remained clear. However Ivy is a tenacious plant as you know and the Ivy League look was here to stay inspiring generations of Japanese devotees to the slightly more formal style which would soon merge with the more casual Preppie look. These styles have become benchmarks of pared down style from the chinos to the blazers to the button down shirts pared with tee’s and sweats shirts they’re the staple of most mens wardrobes today.

"In Japan there is a saying “a nail that stands out shall be hammered down”.

After all this time we’ve loved seeing old friends and new ones gathering at the shops and favourite haunts once more so in praise of the Miyuki-zoku- Kanpai and enjoy.

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