In a recent publicity campaign, J. Crew released a series of fashion biographies of fashionable men and women from five very different locations around the globe. The men of the campaign, Sven Schumann of Germany, TK of Hong Kong, and Takahiro Kinoshita of Japan, are all touted as being individual snapshots of the different urban styles around the world.
As much as I would like to take a cynical approach to reviewing this campaign of J. Crew, after reading each of the biographies, there is actually quite a bit of helpful (and somewhat necessary) fashion tips for men found among the fluff. From Japan, to Hong Kong, to Germany, there is much to be learned by the men of America.
Sven Schumann can apparently be seen walking the streets of Berlin in his Italian cashmere cardigan sold exclusively by J. Crew. He claims that his personal style is “pretty laid back,” and it includes old jeans, t-shirts, and any other comfortable apparel. In his bio on jcrew.com, Sven continues talking about the hand-spun cashmere cardigan made of precious Mongolian fleece. What he does not mention is that this sweater retails for around $230 at J. Crew. His so-called comfortable t-shirt and “old” jeans also sell for a hefty price tag at $25 and $248 respectively. While American men should note Sven’s keen German fashion sense, the price tag can be quite a deterrent. Instead, men should look for similar items at ‘fast fashion’ locations such as H&M, Zara, and UNIQLO to save literally hundreds of dollars.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is TK of Hong Kong. Founder of a trendy pop-culture magazine, TK’s style harkens back to the wacky looks of the 50’s and 60’s. His look consists of chambray, worn button-down utility shirts, scarves, an interesting trench coat, and handkerchiefs with an infinite number of colorful patterns. His sample outfit at J. Crew retails for around $500, but again can be found for a fraction of the price at ‘fast fashion’ stores.
In fact, why not try and achieve the vintage look by shopping at the source? Vintage clothing stores carry the original goods, which are often far cheaper and better quality than their reproductions. When going for a vintage look, buying new clearly defeats the purpose.
Finally, there is Takahiro Kinoshita of Tokyo, Japan. Kinoshita serves as the editor-in-chief of the Japanese men’s magazine Popeye. He claims to keep his style traditionally authentic. His classic dress shoes, J. Crew’s “go-with-everything sweater,” and Japanese selvedge jeans complete the classic look. A plaid button-down is always stylishly nestled under his neutral sweater. This look is a must for American men. Especially in the cooler months of the year, nothing looks classier than a button-down tucked underneath a sweater with well-fitting jeans and matching shoes. Although J. Crew sells this preppy look for hundreds of dollars, a visit to the local mall or thrift shop can supply the same result.
For further information on this fashion campaign, or for the women’s entries, please visit jcrew.com.