Sometimes, the most unique American looks can’t be found in America at all. Todd Barket, head of menswear retail destination Unionmade, spent some times soaking up the fresh takes on style in Tokyo, and came back with a whole new collection to present. Made In Japan is bringing a selection of Japanese brands, including Beams+, Kapital, and Damasquina, together in a whole new spin on classic American dressing. We caught up with Todd Barket to get all the details on the new collection.
Your store is associated with American-made goods, as well as authenticity and integrity. At the same time, a collection from Japanese brands and makers seems to make so much sense. What appeals to you about Japanese products?
I have been going to Japan for the last 10 years and I am always fascinated by the way people style themselves and put together classic pieces. The Japanese tend to take things out of context (in a good way) and completely twist them in the way they present things. Japanese products that we like tend to be great quality and compliment our assortment nicely.
What items are you most excited about?
I love the fashion lines best. It’s great to see a designer’s complete vision and styling nuances. This season we are continuing to carry lines that we have had for a number of seasons like Beams Plus, Kenneth Field, TS(S), Haversack, and Kapital. We are excited about doing a collaboration this Spring with Journal Standard Homestead.
How do you find the brands and products you carry?
Pretty much from shopping in Tokyo. We have a number of stores that we visit and admire. We always have our eyes open for new brands and categories that could make sense in all of the stores.
What’s a typical buying trip like in Japan?
We have a lot of meetings and dinners. It’s a bit more spread out than NYC. We tend to have 3 appointments or so a day. Some we buy at and some we just have meetings.
Where’s your favorite place to go for dinner when you’re on a buying trip in Japan?
We are lucky. When we are in town we tend to see our friends and accounts. They tend to take us to dinner. This last trip we ate Japanese for every meal and we were lucky enough to go to some amazing authentic Japanese restaurants. My favorite is still ramen that you can have in 5 minutes. It’s straight forward and delicious.
Did you do any sightseeing or touristy things while you’re there?
Not too much. We tend not to have too much time. We were lucky this past trip. The blossoms were starting and are always a spectacular thing to see visually.