Gavin Smith

Or rather, Jelado owner, the muscular and tough looking competitive kick boxer Yohei Goto is.

We had the pleasure of meeting Yohei, on our recent visit to Tokyo, in his Ebisu store and showroom. I knew before meeting him that he is a competitive fighter, and I was more than intrigued to see if his twin passions of vintage clothing and martial arts were aligned in any way, the answer surprised me somewhat.

"I have always loved vintage clothing" explained Yohei, "But when I was young I was very thin, and the clothing did not fit me well as the sleeves and legs were made too wide for my thin body."

"Through taking up kick boxing I put on weight, and now I find that the clothes which I have always loved fit me much better"

Yohei is a man who takes his vintage clothing seriously, each year he spends large sums of money acquiring rare and distinctive items for him to wear, display and provide inspiration for Jelado and its five sub brands (Antique, Athletic, Rock Star, Combat Togs and Hercules). If the last sub brand on that list is familiar to you it might be because up until 1965 it was a workwear brand owned by Sears, Yohei purchased the brand name for Jelado.

Talking with Yohei is an education in ethics, he is quiet, thoughtful and obviously cares more about his product and his designs than the business side of things. It quickly became clear that he expected the same from anyone he would even consider working with and luckily we are every bit as clear on what we want from our products as he is. With our shared vision we enjoyed an extremely pleasant afternoon looking through the Jelado store, talking about vintage clothing, trying on some nice pieces, and viewing the Jelado showroom where Yohei keeps some very rare and expensive vintage leather pieces, which inspire the wonderfully detailed "Rock Star" leather jackets.

Jelado are a brand who really consider their customers, when we expressed a little concern that the flannel shirt I tried on was a little short Yohei quickly provided one with a longer body. Not many companies make their shirts in two different body lengths to accommodate taller customers do they?

I have found that many of the brands in the quality denim and work wear market are the result of the passion and dedication of their owners. In the two Japanese brands we have chosen to work with (Jelado and Trophy Clothing), this is abundantly clear, and the owners of these brands are exactly the owners that I would want for a brand whose products I enjoy.