At the intersection of the Vietnam War, Japanese tailor shops, faithful reproductions/exciting reworkings — and of course, a little Peanuts — sits Dawson Denim and TSPTR‘s collaborative Okinawa Tailor Shop Collection.
Developed for Fall Winter ’21, this unique deep dive into the history of rest and relaxation trips during the Vietnam War and how they influence the style of military men is a refreshing subject for exploration and will leave you wanting to immediately buy in.
During the war, after 6 months of service, each soldier was entitled to 1 week of rest and relaxation outside of Vietnam including destinations like Japan, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Australia, Hawaii, Taiwan, and Singapore. Although waits were long depending on demand, good ol’ Uncle Sam footed the bill for transportation and lodging…as long as the locations was on the approved list, of course.
Over time, Okinawa, Japan became known as the destination for soldiers who wanted quality handmade clothing on these trips as many tailors set up shop near US air bases there. Not to mention an already strong rep built up from WWII and the Korean War. These specially made garments often replaced normal dress on base for special occasions.
So, history lesson over, let’s dig into this special collection. The basic pitch was period correct Vietnam War era garments, reborn using traditional Japanese fabrics, and a little pop culture injection to make them ready for the modern-day. Each piece is handmade by Dawson Denim in their Brighton, UK, workshop using vintage sewing machines and construction techniques.
To start, the collab offers up some Crew Neck Sweats and Tees with a tastefully combined logo inspired a 1960s Hanes flag logo, and a back hit of a zen Snoopy or cheery Charlie Brown – wearing the pineapple motif from the collection, naturally.
This takes us to another highlight, the Advisor Shirt. One of the rarest articles of clothing from the war, the shirt was made for the US Special Forces in South Vietnam and featured a distinctive tiger stripe pattern that has endured the decades and has become a darling of vintage heads and repro brands alike. Dawson and TSPTR decided to take the path virtually untraveled and use the advisor shirt as a blank canvas for beautiful Japanese fabrics like an indigo-dyed pineapple print inspired by “aloha” shirts, and an indigo waterfall weave created by the kasuri resist method.
The Jungle Pants in HBT, aforementioned Indigo Kasuri, and 10 oz Neppy selvedge explores what was possible for bespoke hunting-inspired fatigues that GIs would get done. Kind of like historical fiction made wearable.
The Sashiko Sports Jacket takes ivy sack coat to the next level and in some ways ties the whole collection together in the perfect semi-formal outfit. And if you want to talk about the cohesion of a collection, how many can you think of where you could actually wear one of each piece and they fit perfectly together as an outfit without looking like a uniform. This is a rare one.
Other items included in the collection include a Boonie Hat and a limited edition Screen Printed Poster.
And if you hadn’t called in love already, a percentage of each sale from this collection will go to www.warchild.org.uk – the only specialist charity for children affected by war.
Full collection available from $67 at Dawson Denim
You can check out our interview with Dawson Denim here