Letter from the Editor:

The seasons are turning, and there is perhaps no image more evocative of springtime - of new life, the new year, and new love (if you’re looking) - than the cherry blossom. That’s right; lest this month’s banner image (of which we’re very proud) leave you in any doubt, we’ve devoted the April issue of the Styleforum Brief to Japan.

Back in middle school, my friends and I could never figure out how to get our hands on all the cool Japan-only video games. Of course, we had no idea what a proxy service was. You might not either, in which case Brad Tiller’s article on how to buy what you want - whether clothes or anything else - directly from Japan is a must-read. And even if we’ve all grown since our days as adolescents, a lot of travel takes place largely in the mind, whether it’s to Japan or elsewhere. Luckily, contributor John Clayton paints a scene for those of us who can’t be there to see the famous cherry blossoms. Think of it as preparation - when you do finally make it to the Land of the Rising Sun, you’ll have at least some inkling of where to go and what to do.

Alex Scharf, a welcome newcomer to The Brief, helps with that planning by walking you through four of Tokyo’s best - and tiniest - stores. In addition, we have a host of topics for you to devour: Fok’s favorite hard-wearing piece of clothing, the intriguing tailoring connection between Japan and Italy, an exploration of the world’s most important dyestuff, and an etymological exercise to whet your appetite for journeys of the body and of the mind. We hope that you enjoy the reading as much as we’ve enjoyed the putting together of this special issue - and we look forward to seeing you on the forums.

- Jasper Lipton, Editor in Chief


Never made a Styleforum Gallery? Now is the time. Make a gallery of your “What Are You Wearing Now/Today” pictures, or of your clothing or outfit grids, for a chance to win a prize from Opumo.com and a coveted custom title!

Click here to see the rules and get started.

This Month’s Headliner:

A Brief History of Indigo
by Jasper Lipton

Once reserved for only the world’s wealthiest, indigo went on to become the most ubiquitous dyestuff on the planet. But unlike the color of your jeans, indigo has never faded away.

Featured Stories:

Small on Space, Big on Heart: Four of Tokyo’s Best Stores
by Alex Scharf

Tokyo isn’t known for being spacious. If you’re there to shop, here are four places much larger than their physical footprint would suggest - but be warned; you may want to pack an extra suitcase.

Traveling Through Japan During Cherry Blossom Season
by John Clayton

One part history, three parts party - hanami, or flower-viewing, has been a Japanese tradition since the eight century. John Clayton walks you through the magic, and tells you how to get the best out of the blossom season.

Lanieri Presents: Deep Into the Blue (SPONSORED CONTENT)

Lanieri presents a guide to creating your perfect, made-to-measure blue suit.

Two Japanese Words Every Clothing Dork Should Know
by Jasper Lipton

There are times when you have to buckle down and revel in your absolute nerd-hood. Embrace it, expand your cultural lexicon, and feel your authenticity-level skyrocket.

How to Buy From Awesome Japanese Stores that Won’t Ship Internationally
by Brad Tiller

We’ve all run into the problem: someone on Styleforum links you to something…incredible. Problem is, it’s on a Japanese website. You might not even know what it is, let alone how to buy it. Fear not - from proxy services to more advanced internet techniques, Brad Tiller is here to solve your problems.

The Thread Connecting Italian and Japanese Tailoring
by David Isle

If you’ve followed our Pitti coverage, you’ll probably have noticed that the Japanese attendees are, by far, the best dressed. David dives into the whys and wherefores of Japan’s love affair with Italian tailoring.

Fok’s Pick: Clothing for Hard Work
by Fok-Yan Leung

Sometimes the combination of ordinary materials results in extraordinary product. Sometimes that product is so special that it deserves to be written about. And, sometimes, Fok feels compelled to share.

This Month's Featured Thread:

Classic Menswear "What Are You Wearing Today?"

Styleforum’s first Gallery Contest is underway, and our Classic Menswear “What Are You Wearing Today” thread is the perfect place to look for inspiration!