Top Trend – The Souvenir Style Of The Military Jacket | Style


Top Trend – The Souvenir Style Of The Military Jacket



The souvenir jacket has been around for many years. With its origins way back in the post-World War II era ( when it was originally known as a Sukajan jacket), all the American soldiers who were posted in Japan at this time ordered these intricate, hand embroidered jackets to be designed and detailed as a souvenir for their time of commission there (hence the name, souvenir).


The essential design features of these jackets include a sensual mixture of East meets West iconography; quintessential Japanese graphics such as cherry blossoms and powerful tigers sit beside stronger, more Americanesque images such as military symbols and the omniscient American eagle.


Even after WWII, these Sukajan jackets remained a top trend for soldiers and military personnel throughout the 20th century, thanks to ongoing military agendas in Korea and Vietnam. Sporting bitter sweet (and sometimes motivational?) statement slogans like “When I Die I’m Going To Heaven Because I’ve Served My Time In Hell”, this is not the sort of moto that is suitable for winter layering to the office, no matter how Hell´s Angel you are.

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By the sheer nature of their aesthetic, these bomber jackets were very unique and personally produced. Because of this each and every one varies in their style, colour and message making them a much rarer find than other militaira or Levi´s of around that time which might adorn the walls of second hand boutiques today.


Let´s just say that to find an original is going to be a very difficult (and very expensive) task. Even since the height of their popularity, these jackets have been imitated by most style hunters on the streets. It was however, the street gangs of 1960´s who brought the look into the mainstream media from photography, reportage and style commentaries of the day. These days, it is a far quicker and easier task top acquire one (of the more diluted) tribute styles. With each and every decade in the fashion calendar, there has been a corresponding souvenir style (with a comparable souvenir style price). Depending on what it is exactly that you are looking for, it is possible to find real / genuine / authentic jacket out there, the point being that they may belong to another decade outside the coveted 1950´s.



Achieve The Look – Where Can I Buy A New One?

On the runways of Europe right now, there are a few designers who have been fashioning a more contemporary re-make on this trend one more time. Not surprisingly, style supremo’s Gucci and Louis Vuitton have been working this trend a treat recently if you are looking for a non-classic wardrobe piece that is possibly more expensive than any 1950´s original you could encounter.

Due to the time dependant trendiness of the souvenir jacket (putting aside they actually re-trend with a strong frequency) if you are unsure about getting wearable value for money, then Stussy and Evisu are producing some rather eye catching candidates with bold inspirational designs which have attracted the likes of Pharrell Williams and Harry Styles as fans.

Trickle down fashion is at its most candid then it filters down into the high street and it is here that you will find an ocean of options if you only want to wear this look for a season or so with chains such as River Island, Topman and ASOS pulling off lustrous, contemporary versions which financially allow you to take a risk until your more confident with the look.

How Do I Wear One Confidently?

Decorative, ornate and colourful – souvenir jackets are all these things and more. In fact, it’s possibly harder not to be noticed than noticed in these thanks to their ´souvenir´ style attributes. To get more bang for your buck – even if you’re wearing Gucci in Guilford, you still need to pay full attention to your style file so the jacket will work in consonance with the rest of your wardrobe. Take strength in knowing also that you can look stylish without sticking to monochromes and capsule wardrobe staples.


For the more brightly coloured candidates, try the timeless crisp white t-shirt underneath with a contrasting pair of dark, indigo jeans and plain white trainers to let the jacket do the talking. On the other hand, for the darker shades, this can hand you the perfect opportunity to experiment a bit more with the composition of your outfit.

Button down shirts with trousers / chino´s and a slick pair of Chelsea boots will complete your look effortlessly. For a more bona-fide take on the Sukajan style; stick with the classic 50´s inspired preppy look served with a strong Japanese twist which will keep you looking cool classic and contemporary – exactly why these jackets were assembled in the first place.


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