On a seemingly random Tuesday, a small group of people got to experience Bryceland’s wares for the first time outside of Tokyo and Hong Kong. All thanks to a surprise visit from Kenji Cheung.
If I could put my most recent style evolution into words, it would probably be a mix of Drake’s and Brycelands. I’ve written about both of them in my inspirations post. The Drake’s connotation is rather obvious, as the ivy-trad style is easy to wear on a daily basis and looks rather cool when transitioning from “work to play”. Bryceland’s on the other hand is a different story. While the vibe is something “new” for the classic menswear community, it’s really familiar to me. In fact, it’s probably the most obvious next-step in my evolution, as it really mixes the world of vintage, workwear, and contemporary bespoke tailoring.
I first found out about Brycelands through following Ethan Newton. As you may remember, I only found out about the Armoury a little shy of three years ago. While he was already transitioning out, Ethan (an Australian menswear savant) and his style had quickly captured my attention. During my boring senior and MBA classes, I spent my time pouring through his tumblr archive, quickly taking note of his style both in clothing and photography. As you can probably tell, it influenced me a lot. Even though he was at the Armoury, he still had a very classic style that was drawn from the 1930’s-1960’s. A lot of navy jackets, chinos, and flannel trousers with pinned collars and great ties.
If you listen to the Blamo! Pod, you can learn more about Ethan Newton’s personal journey. Most importantly, he talks about his transition from the Armoury into becoming business partners with Kenji Cheung and creating a new venture: Bryceland’s Co. Named for Ethan’s grandfather, it really is his and Kenji’s vision of menswear: a look back at the both the tailoring and sportswear of the 1920s-1960s through a modern lens. Both do a lot of curating for their products, but Kenji is the business master behind the brand while Ethan does more of the design. It’s like a dream partnership, and they look so damn good.
The Tokyo store was the first to open and the Hong Kong one followed near the end of 2017. Kenji now runs the business full time from the HK shop, while Ethan manages the Tokyo one.
At first, they were a luxury retailer similar to the Armoury but made sure to add their own aesthetic/models, with select shoes from Saint Crispins, trousers from Ambrosi, shirts from Ascot Chang, rayon sportshirts from Groovin High, and ties from SevenFold Firenze. Obviously each of these things have the Bryceland’s spin; for example, the Ascot Chang shirts have collars designed by Ethan, ranging from a wide, rolled button-down to a tabbed club. Their suiting is done by Sartoria Dalcuore, which might just be some of the best designs (and fit) I’ve seen. They have done work with Cody Wellema for their fedoras both custom and RTW. That was my way “in” into meeting Kenji Cheung when he visited in February for Inspiration LA 2018.
My common lament about Los Angeles is that nothing of note ever happens here in the world of menswear other than the amazing Dapper Day events. As The Bloke’s one year party wasn’t coming for a few weeks (Oct 27, save the date!) I felt that there was just too big of a gap. Enter in a few messages from Kenji and Cody saying that Kenji was in fact going to be in LA and was going to take the opportunity to do a mini-trunk show at the Wellema Hat Co. to show off their core items! Obviously I was extremely excited, not just for an event, for the chance to hang out with Mr. Cheung again. As I said in my NYC post, I’ve been trying to break out of my fanboy phase since that’s no way to make real friends (or colleagues within this business).
The event was on Tuesday, October 9 and the pop-up ran until the following day. I got to Altadena as fast as I could after work and was met with an intimate, but very cool and well dressed group of people. Bryceland’s wears adorned the tables and shelves at Wellema’s, giving all of us a unique opportunity to actually experience the things only seen in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
The instant draw to me was the shirts, made by Ascot Chang the best shirt company in the world. Due to their preference for vintage pieces, a lot of the fabrics they chose are from the AC archives; the one I know for sure is the middle blue stripe oxford (featuring a fantastically designed club-tab collar) which I’ve just commissioned for myself as a spearpoint at work. The one of the left is also a fantastic piece, as a linen check with a button down collar that promises ample roll despite its wide spread. The last one is the Winston collar shirt that has an extreme cutaway. I could see it worn with a 3PC as a pseudo early 1920’s look. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try them for myself but the designs are great.
Groovin’ High (based in Japan) is one of their oldest collaborators and allows them to delve into some rockabilly 1940s-1950s style. I personally love these a lot since similar true vintage prints are either rare, destroyed, or uber-expensive. It’s a great contrast to the plain ones I normally wear; the prints make them a bit more fun and leans on the rock-and-roll (dare I say SLP) vibe rather than the 1940’s vintage dad (which is still a great look).
Priced at $250, they are on the high end, but not nearly as high as true vintage ones go. Groovin High is one of the best repros around, though they are hard to get outside of Japan. They are well produced and done in great prints that are bolder and more unique than the ones you’ll find now at H&M. Plus, you get the period accurate wide collar that’s perfect for the runaway look.
Until now, the only sizes I could find for Groovin High (mostly retailed by vintage stores) have been in XXL. This is most likely due to their Japanese sizing and that rockabilly guys tend to be a bit larger. Kenji only brought a few sizes in S-M-L and recommended that I try on the medium. I immediately gravitated toward this dope shirt (the black seems badass to me). It’s not too bad, though I could feel that it was a bit small in the shoulders, chest, and sleeve; the armholes were also on the high side. One look at me and Kenji immediately told me to get the large.
Interestingly, all of these reasons are why Bryceland’s is moving toward making their own pieces. They’ve done it in the past, but who knows; we might be seeing a private label rayon shirt from them in the near future!
Speaking of private label pieces, I got to check out their gurkha shorts. Let me tell you, these are miles and miles ahead of the quality of the ones from WPG. The cotton was soft yet weighted (for drape). It really feels like a tailors take on the original military gurkha.
Kenji also brought a long a couple of ties from Sevenfold Firenze. These are made from excellent silks, echoing the delicate brocades of the 1920s-1930s. I love the vintage-inspired designs, as they look eerily similar to the period ones that I own. I’m pretty sure that Kenji and Ethan take pride in wearing theirs with striped shirts. The bolder, medium/large scale designs works very well for that vintage-contemporary look.
Ryan is seen here trying on the army chinos. They are pretty much a damn good replica of 1940’s chinos, just done in a more high quality fabric and construction. The trousers are still cut wide and high (as you can see), which allows them to transition between tailoring and casualwear pretty easily. Ryan wasn’t used to such high trousers, but I think it suits him just fine! All he needs is a hem or a rolled-cuff and he would be good to go.
One thing I wish I tried on was their chambray and denim shirts. Their use of it with tailoring is one of the best things I’ve seen outside the the ivy way via Drake’s. It’s a bit rougher and workwear, which is definitely a vibe to have this fall/winter. I love that they made the collars a bit large so that it will indeed hold a tie; cheaper ones from J. Crew and the like will definitely not work with neckwear. It’s almost as if Brycelands has thought of everything!
Lastly, we have their Type-1 denim jacket. I’ll admit that denim jackets aren’t really my forte (I prefer leather) but I can always appreciate a good one. These ones are a faithful reproduction of the Levis Type-1 jacket, complete with a pleated front a single breast pocket. My ideal one would be this, but with side pockets; I’m not sure if that’s sacrelidge to denimheads.
The one I’m wearing is the 36 which fits perfectly and ends right at the waist. Kenji suggests sizing up for shrinkage, but I typically soak all my denim in cold water to prevent such a thing.
Let’s do some quick outfit analysis. Andy is here, giving classic menswear a run for its money with a dope ensemble. The brown corduroy jacket is actually an old Polo RL from the 1970’s and features triple patch pockets, a 3-roll-2 stance (that is kinda low, but who cares), and a bi-swing back! He really scored the eBay jack pot.
Spencer rocks a decidedly more Bryceland’s inspired outfit, with a chambray shirt worn with a camo jungle jacket. For those of you who don’t follow us on instagram, Spencer and I actually obtained true vintage camo jungle jacks at the Rose Bowl shortly after getting our uniqlo ones. Now our BDU’s are obsolete.
It was actually cold enough for sweaters and leather, so that’s just what I did! There’s definitely some French resistance vibes here, but it overall is simply a reinterpretation of Kenji’s outfit at Inspiration. The shirt is true 1930’s european pull-over spearpoint worn with a gorgeous purple brocade tie from my friend Damian of the Monsivais Co.
Cody’s safari jacket is an insane 1930’s number from Reese’s Vintage Pieces. It feels nothing like anything today, almost like a cross between a hearty linen and terry cloth. The cream color contrasts nicely against a 1930s spearpoint and a Brycelands x Sevenfold tie. Double props for the indigo fedora; when you’re the hatmaker, you can rock anything you want!
Bonus: Dinner at Dupars
Okay, so the event ended around 9PM and a few of us still didn’t have dinner. That’s mainly because we rushed to Altadena after work. Even though I’m a local, I never really eat anywhere that isn’t my house or fast food (or in LA), so I was at a loss. Luckily Doug and Cody suggested Dupars, a 24-Hour diner near The Bloke!
I obviously had to take some eating pics (sorry Mr. Castleberry, I just love you work too much not to do my own versions!).
The event was a blast. Big events are cool, but I always like the smaller stuff since it allows for more conversation. I’m very happy that I was able to actually touch Bryceland’s goods from my home city of LA, since similar stuff is so rare here (other than true vintage). Talking to old friends, making new one, and ending the night with breakfast food is really the way to go. I’m also extremely proud of Cody, who has turned his local hattery to a worldwide brand that has formed a close partnership and friendship with the Bryceland’s guys.
Conversing with Kenji was obviously the highlight of the night. He told us that Ethan Newton is constantly thinking of new ideas and that Bryceland’s is always open for more. Like I said earlier, they are making their own (house label) printed rayon sportshirts to compliment the plain ones that they’ve already launched. He also said that they could be looking to expand in the future, way down the line. The brand is new, but clearly they’ve made some major ripples as the aesthetic is like none I’ve seen outside of vintage pickers. Plus it provides a gateway for those who like vintage as well as contemporary tailoring.
I can’t wait to see what they do next. Let’s hope that Kenji comes back soon and gets to bring Ethan Newton with him!
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
PS: If you want to hear about more events (like the upcoming Bloke Party), be sure to follow me on instagram! I post updates there all the time.