Wednesday, 29 April 2015


What happens when Austrias’ premier denim shop collaborate with Japan’s oldest label, Big John? Answer: something quite special - the "BIG JOHN X SUN/SET/STAR Japanther Collaboration Waistcoat."

SUN/SET/STAR BIG JOHN Japanther waistcoat

I caught up with Steve from SUN/SET/STAR to find out more.
It all started when Kiyo from Big John visited the guys to introduce the A/W 13 collection. The fit is taken from the herringbone waistcoat in this collection. As Steve says, 
It was love from the first sight: the fit, the workmanship, simply something we were searching for quite some time.”
 SUN/SET/STAR BIG JOHN Japanther waistcoat

And it proved popular with customers too, so much so that the guys asked if Big John were doing something similar for the next season, but alas not. Keen to produce something anyway they discussed collaboration; things went from there.

Surge Hunters

The fabric is called 'Grandrelle Navy Stripe Serge' based on 1920's work wear material 'Salt & Pepper', it's 100% cotton and woven in Japan. Serge was also used in military uniforms and is a particularly robust fabric, yet this waistcoat has a wonderfully soft feel to it. Worn over a henley in the coming warmer months it’ll look fantastic. As Steve puts it, the fabric is an “an all-season one, elegant but durable.”

As you’d expect the detailing is spot on. The buttons are made-in-japan silver plated brass. I love pocket flaps on a waistcoat, it just looks right and adds to the period feel, however the flaps can be hidden in the pockets for a cleaner appearance if that’s your thing. My favourite flourish is the extra slanted button hole for one’s watch chain – a period touch you don’t often see these days.

SUN/SET/STAR BIG JOHN Japanther waistcoat

Best of both worlds 

The grey inner lining is hand stamped with the "Japanther Collaboration" emblem representing the cross-town collaboration of Graz and Kurashiki; featuring the coat-of-arms of both cities: This explains the name of the collab: JAPAN (Made in Japan) + PANTHER (coat-of-arms of the guys' hometown) = JAPANTHER.
The woven label is also hand stamped with the emblem. So, are there plans for more collaborations in the future? “It might not be the last piece we create together…but there are no plans yet! We’ll keep you updated!”

SUN/SET/STAR BIG JOHN Japanther waistcoat

On to a Good Thing

In a previous interview with Denimhunters Steve and Gerry argued the long-term goal of SUN/SET/STAR is to become an institution for “good things” – well this waistcoat is certainly that. Strictly limited to run of 40 pieces – hand numbered – there are still a few sizes left, so get in there quick.

SUN/SET/STAR BIG JOHN Japanther waistcoat

A chap can never have too many waistcoats and something this special is certainly worth adding to the collection. If you’re tempted have a look here.

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