COOL HUNTING commissioned Kazushi Iwasa, Kiun’s fifth-generation incense-maker in Takamatsu, Japan, to craft a unique incense for our annual limited edition gift series, Omakase, using natural indigo. The earthy, woody, musky scent is light and refreshing—and the incense does not drop ash as it burns, rather, it curls inward together. Of note, the Taro Tabuchi incense plate shown is not included with this two box purchase, but is available as a set with four boxes.
A powdered indigo dye developed at Aikuma Senryo (originally a Chinese herbal apothecary founded in Tokyo circa 1818), Yamato Indigo makes it easy to dye apparel, accessories and other fabrics at home. This kit includes enough of each individual component to concoct a large vat of dye in order to lend a vibrant hue to shirts, pants and even sneakers. Specifically, that means 50 grams of Yamato Indigo dye, 100ml of vinegar, 100ml of a fixative, as well as a portion of soda ash and Sodium Hydrosulfite (and possibly a pair of rubber gloves, current shortage pending). Instructions are easy and the entire process is fun as a group activity, too.
Legent Bourbon and NYC-based menswear designer Todd Snyder join forces for the limited edition Bourbon Selvedge Denim Jacket. The accessory employs hand-selected Japanese denim produced on a shuttle loom in Okayama, which is then cut, sewn and expertly tailored here in the US by Snyder’s team. It’s based on the body of the fashion brand’s classic Dylan jacket but repeatedly nods to the bourbon and its unique, international production method.
Nike’s new ACG Mt Fuji collection features plenty of wind- and water-resistant garments and accessories inspired by the Japanese mountain’s terrain. A lava-like camouflage print covers these durable overall shorts and a woven, retro Nike ACG patch adds a pop of color. This piece is meant to match the rest of the collection, which includes a poncho, sneakers, sandals and a vest. The full collection is available today at Nike’s online store. Price is in Euros.
Designed by the team at Japanese cycle shop CCP, the clever SS-VB02 Filter Top combines a sweat-absorbent, rain-resistant shirt with a built-in face mask. The “the stand collar,” which doubles as a mask, is fully adjustable thanks to a drawcord inside and protects from pollen, cold air and germs. Also, with a zipped slit pocket in the center of the chest, this garment proves itself to be super-functional and sleek. Available in navy or black, and three sizes.
Japanese brand Suicoke’s DAO-2 slippers (available in two colorways) feature an adjustable nylon and PVC-padded band with a toggle string for tightening to ensure a firm but comfortable fit. The industrial upper contrasts a rugged sole, which makes these ideal in-between shoes. Intended for all genders, these slides feature subtle gray and black with a pop of yellow and an overall utilitarian vibe.
Dyed using the time-consuming and meticulous technique called kasezome (aka hank- or skein-dyeing), this Studio D’Artisan jacket celebrates Japanese tradition and craftsmanship. Crafted from 100% cotton Studio D’Artisan original sashiko fabric, the jacket features a plush wool lining and collar as well as black snap buttons. A combination of workwear and luxury, tradition and modernity, this jacket is available in sizes 38 to 44 and is made in Japan.
Designed for windy and rainy conditions, Houdini Sportswear’s The Square is a shin-length wrap-style skirt that’s easy to take on and off as needed with a simple hook and webbing waistband. Made in Japan from 70% recycled and 30% face fabric polyester (the silent, water-repellant top layer), the piece boasts a matte finish that adds subtle sophistication. Just like a raincoat, The Square is wind- and water-proof, and is resilient to rips and snags. The lightweight unisex garment’s wrap design makes it extra functional, as it can buckle at various sizes depending on your outfit underneath. Easily stored in a day bag, this is a perfect solution for unexpected foul weather.
Born from a collaboration between heritage shoemaker Clarks and Japanese streetwear brand Neighborhood, this stylish take on the Desert Trek silhouette features a contrasting “shark tooth” print and a co-branded heel patch. A Vibram outsole contributes ruggedness to the boot, but the suede exterior steers it toward a more sophisticated look.
Billed as the world’s smallest record player, this Ghostly edition Stokyo Record Runner laps the grooves of 33 1⁄3 rpm records, amplifying sound out of its internal speaker. The underside of the van bears a stylus and a cartridge system, which picks up the songs encoded below. It’s self-propelling for up to 90 minutes of playtime, courtesy of two AAA batteries. Though this playful, pocket-sized record player is good looking, it’s not recommended for your best records or overuse, as unexpected bumps could cause scratches.
Handmade in Japan by a master milliner that studied hat-making under legendary designer Jean Barthet, this natural-hued wool cap comes equipped with antimicrobial features and a unique softness—afforded by a process that uses untreated material exclusively. The resulting fit is looser and more unstructured but far more comfortable. FEIT worked closely with the milliner through each step of the process.
For travelers and coffee lovers, these Canyon Coffee single-serving instant coffee packs can save the day. To concoct the powder within, the team at Canyon teamed up with Swift Cup to transform their freshly roasted coffee into an instant form. The brand’s founders, Ally Walsh and Casey Wojtalewicz, chose coffee beans from Celinga, Ethiopia. Paired with a Japanese-made travel tumbler by Kinto, this kit will keep those on the move conveniently caffeinated, simply by adding the sachet to eight ounces of hot water.
Made from indigo-dyed cotton and adorned with a contrasting red sashiko stitch, Best Made Company’s ball cap fuses traditional Japanese pattern work with Americana. Bolstered by its all-over embroidery, the hat is sturdy and durable. It can also be adjusted using a vegetable-tanned leather back strap.
From our deep respect and adoration of Japanese culture, we drew the word “omakase” (meaning “expert’s choice”) in 2016 to name our annual collection of collaboratively produced, limited edition and early release products we offer readers. This year’s collection of gifts is crafted entirely in collaboration with Japanese artisans. Every design object we’ve developed has function, but to decipher its untold value requires history lessons. With products thoughtfully made by Asahiyaki (now led by a talented 16th generation ceramist), Chi Chi, Grisal, KIUN, Taro Tabuchi, Hajime Shoji, Zillion and others, this is an exclusive and high-quality gift for any Japanophile or lover of textile, design and craftsmanship.
Designed in Japan, this kimono comes features a traditional, hip-length silhouette, but is extra durable and warm thanks to its 100% polyester POLARTEC® 300 make-up. The kimono—because of the technology at play in the fabric—regulates the interior temperature to suit the wearer’s current needs, thus preventing overheating or sudden chills. Altogether it’s a stylish and functional garment that can be worn in the city, or even on a camping trip.
Made by Nagatani-en and designed by Iga Mono, the “Mushi Nabe” steamer lets chefs—at home or in a professional kitchen—cook a variety of dishes with precision and without unruly oils or fat-heavy butter. With holes in the lid to let steam escape, the removable ceramic tray within can hold meats or vegetables above the boiling water below it. As a result of being cooked by steam, juiciness and brightness is afforded without the heaviness of frying. It is six inches deep and 11.5 inches wide, and weighs nearly nine pounds. The manufacturer notes that it is gas-burner safe, but not suited for induction or electric burners, microwaves, or dishwashers.