If you’re after the ultimate souvenir to bring back from Japan, Sukajan jackets are the perfect and classic pieces to go for. As the name Sukajan suggests, these are amazing souvenirs which won’t end up just sitting in your closet. In fact, historically, American GI’s brought these bomber jackets from Japan during the Post World War II era as personal souvenirs. They customised these bomber jackets by stitching meaningful Japanese embroidery, art work, silk, badges of their choice…they added anything that reminds them of their journey and time spent in Japan. It is the reason why the most special Japanese Sukajan jackets may cost a lot of money because they are not mass produced and are usually vintage and sentimental pieces the owners choose to keep or pass on to a loved one.
When we went to visit Japan, I must admit that I regret not looking out for Sukajan jackets. When we got back, I saw a Topshop advert in Vogue showing a Sukajan jacket in blue and white which says ‘Japan’ on it; featuring an embroidered picture of a colourful bird. I loved it so much and frantically searched for this jacket online. When I looked it up, I realised then that it was actually a reversible jacket so you get two jackets in one! The black and white side features an even more beautiful embroidered picture of a tiger.
I bought the item straight away and had the item delivered to a local Topshop store. When I tried it on for the first time, I couldn’t believe how soft and beautiful it is… it has become my favourite summer/winter jacket. You might be wondering, is it warm enough for winter or is it not too thick for the summer? For me, I feel like it’s thick enough to wear with a few layers underneath in the winter and in the summer, it’s a perfect thing to wear on top of a summer dress or playsuit.
So, my friends…
You don’t have to go to Japan to get the classic Japanese Sukajan jackets… There are plenty of alternative bomber jackets which are similar available to buy from high street stores. If you don’t plan on going to Japan anytime soon, you can still get the classic Sukajan jacket look.
This is the reversible Sukajan jacket I bought from Topshop for £89 and this is the blue and white side which features the navy blue and white stripes on the bottom of the jacket and the sleeves. You can order this in your true size or you can get this in a bigger size for an oversized look. I ordered a size UK 6 and this is what I am wearing in this picture.
This is the black and white side showing red and white stripes.
I bought another Sukajan jacket from Topshop and this time, the reversible jacket is in green, black and white. This jacket features dragons. I love these reversible jackets too because with all the different colours, patterns and artwork featured they pretty much go with everything. I see them as the Asian version of preppy bomber jackets commonly worn here in the West and they’re great for casual wear.
I love this bright green colour especially for those chilly summer days.
I really love Sukajan jackets and although these Topshop pieces are mass-produced and not personally customised, you can always add your own touch to these jackets by stitching new badges and art work that mean something to you as a wearer. Sukajan jackets are meant to say something about you. You can customise them with your own name, university name or anything that means something to you. If you have plain bomber jackets at home and you want a bit of a change, go ahead and customise them. I think that the more you personalise your jacket, the better.
I can’t wait for my next trip to Japan… I’m sure that I will end up searching for one of a kind vintage Sukajan jackets in Harajuku or Shibuya. I also look forward to going back to visit Chicago- a vintage store located in Omotesando. It’s a store where they sell amazing and one of a kind vintage pieces. When I was there, I was more focused on looking for Japanese kimonos. This time, I will look out for Sukajan jackets for sure.