A Visit to Sarto Ginza and Trying on B&Tailor

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The last major feature of my Japan trip is the special little atelier, Sarto Ginza! Believe me when I say, I don’t know what I expected.

While I was on my hectic Japan trip, going from store to store, taking portraits, and general sightseeing, I was still pretty active on social media.  My wireless carrier had “international service”, but was limited to like 2G speeds, so I had my own pocket wifi.

During one of my scrolling times on the subway, I noticed that B&Tailor was in town conducting a trunk show in a Tokyo shop! Chad Park wasn’t with them, but it was Master Jung Yul Park and his oldest son Chang.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see them while they were here, but I took notice of the store, Sarto Ginza.

It seemed to be a great place, visited by Mark Cho (with his Armoury compatriots), Simon Crompton, and B&Tailor (on more than a few occasions), but I was unsure exactly what the store was about.  I then followed the store’s director Moto, who again was found in great company and had great taste! He noticed my follow and invited me to check out his shop if I got the chance.  Luckily, I had time after buying my shirts from Kamakura and books from Tsutaya in Ginza; Moto’s store was only a few blocks away!

Sarto Ginza

The stop sits on a street over from the main Ginza road. Like Kent Store Aoyama, the store was in a narrow building, accessible by a staircase.  Apparently there were two components to Sarto, the women’s floor (2nd) and the mens (3rd); I stood around like an idiot on the 2nd floor until I realized I had to go up one more! Moto greeted me instantly and took me around his store.

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Client lounge with the shoemakers station on the left!

It was smaller than I expected, being quite narrow (though, that should be expected in Japan).  A few house RTW items greet you in the front of the store and a few examples of what I correctly assumed were MTM,  but I was also delighted to see a few selections from Kenji Kaga. Great taste indeed!

I didn’t get to take many pictures (as I had to leave back to the airport in an hour), so you’ll have to trust me on the description.  Along the narrow hallway were two changing rooms, which were being used by clients; Moto’s well dressed staff assisted them while we conversed.  Fabric books and bolts lined the walls to the main sitting area, where clients presumably go over the cloth to make commissions.

The most interesting part was that a bespoke shoemaker sat inches away, working hard on his beautiful commissions.  It was a very interesting and cool shop, different than anything else I had seen before!

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Kaga-san and some great mufflers.

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Did someone ask for fabric?

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen such beautiful shoes before.

Moto noticed that I was confused about the whole set up and explained everything to me: Sarto Ginza is mainly an alteration shop, that happens to sell a variety of other products, produces RTW/MTM, and works closely with B&Tailor and The Armoury.  He employs some of the best tailors and does some crazy alterations, though he does like to offer clients sartorial pieces if they are so inclined.

I like that approach.  “I can fix your stuff, but if you want something completely great without alteration, we can make it for you!”.  Now, I just assumed that most of his alteration work was simple hems and take-ins, but I was wrong. So wrong.

Just look at the before and after on that jacket! It’s like completely new! Moto said that this client really loved this suit basically wanted it recut. I neglected to ask if it was because the client lost a lot of weight, but it seems to be the logical answer.  I couldn’t imagine doing this much work to save a thrifted suit! Moto assured me that this amount of alteration isn’t cheap, but the client was willing to pay for it.

The jacket wasn’t the only one getting a drastic makeover. Sure, you can see that the rise was altered (something I didn’t know you could do), but can you see the other big change?  They turned double pleats into a flat front.  That’s insane!

Come to think of it, I didn’t see many alteration shops (I’m used to seeing dry cleaners at the very least), so maybe Sarto Ginza is the #1 place to go for your sartorial-alterations. And for a country that focuses hard on second hand buying, I’m sure that the service he provides is much needed.  You just know that if I lived in Japan during my formative years, I’d be coming in there everyday getting my trousers to be perfect.

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During our conversation, I mentioned how sad I was to have missed the B&Tailor trunk show and that I noticed on social media that Sarto hosts them twice a year.  Moto said that they are one of B&Tailor’s main contacts in Japan and have a MTM service available year-round. He then directed me to a small rack which hosted a few sizes of B&Tailor trial models, ready to pinned and adjusted for a custom order.  I was practically drooling.

For those of you intimately familiar with the blog, you’ll know that before my love of Brycelands, Drake’s, and even the Armoury, I liked B&Tailor first.  With the high rise, pleated trousers, and wide lapels, it was a natural extension of my vintage style and basically a gateway to classic menswear. I’ve since been able to include other inspirations and try them on, but B&Tailor has been very elusive, considering they are mainly a bespoke/MTM brand that is based on Korea; a far cry from most of the other brands I’ve experienced.

I asked Moto if I could try on some of the jackets and he agreed!

I’ve been told that I’m a pretty easy fit, so I look pretty good in the 38R.

B&Tailor does a fairly wide and slightly lowered notch that has the teeniest hit of a reverse belly.  It contrasts slightly with the curved and open quarters, but is overall very nice. The biggest surprise is the shoulders. They are extended and a bit padded, making it similar to northern Italian tailoring.

Upon a second look, it’s seems that the MTM style and cut differs from the bespoke route, as the former looks like it has wider lapels and a more obtuse notch. However, those could be a bespoke customizations, since you have more leeway going that route.  It could also be that I’m more used to seeing it on other people rather than myself.  It’s still great!

The main reason I love B&Tailor is their version of double breasted jackets. As you know, I tend to obsess over vintage details and lament when they don’t do it anymore. In regards to DBs, I tend to like wide peak, low gorges, wide-set buttons, and a semi-straight belly, which isn’t really in vogue. There’s a reason why most of the DB’s I own are vintage 30s/40s.

You can see a bit of this in the the MTM DB jacket; the button placement is perhaps the most obvious, though the lapel belly isn’t exactly to my taste. Again, referencing their photography-filled tumblr account,  you’ll notice there is a bit of variation from jacket to jacket.

Now this was the perfect B&Tailor jacket. Moto displayed a few ready-made bespoke jackets to show to clients and it just so happens that pieces from Chad Park’s own collection made it into the bunch! In another stroke of luck, it turns out that Chad and I are roughly the same size, so I was able to try it on. And man, it is great.

The shoulders are very extended and slightly padded, but they feel softer than the MTM fitting garment I tried on. The lapel is also a bit straighter, which I like more. Seeing all the detail put together on a finished garment really does make a contemporary DB that can go toe-to-toe with true vintage.  It practically looks like a 1940’s jacket!

If I can get this exact treatment with MTM B&Tailor, I think I know what I’m saving my money for!

Almost as a sign from God, there was a brown DB suit included in the stack, again made for Chad Park. Brown is literally my favorite color to wear (navy is next) and a DB suit in this color would be my dream.  Like I’ve said before, brown is functions as a “vintage” and “casual” color, which fits my style perfectly.  If I wasn’t sold on B&Tailor before, I definitely was now.

It was hard to take this baby off!

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Moto’s bespoke jacket with a great lining.

 

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In addition to taking orders for B&Tailor, Sarto Ginza also has it’s own MTM service.  It’s definitely a bit more contemporary than B&Tailor, with a focus on Neapolitan style. I was able to try on a few of their jackets; there wasn’t time for pants!

You can immediately see the difference between Sarto and B&Tailor’s DB. Sarto’s has an upturned peak, high gorge, and a rounded belly making it much more modern. It’s not bad at all, as I’ve become much less picky (though the details I really want is good too). I do like the button spacing and the soft shoulders, which are much more important to me, especially the latter.

Honestly, I could wear anything that has wide lapels and soft shoulders; just give me a striped shirt and patterned tie and I’ll be just fine!

Here we can see the SB model. This one is a bit harder to judge a it’s made for a size 50 (40 US) client, so it’s bigger.  With that said, I really like this; I tend to be a bit more contemporary with my SB jackets, and this takes the cake!

Most interestingly, this is a two button jacket making it an oddity among the current menswear fetish for 3-roll-2.  If you look closely, you’ll find that the last button is slightly above the pocket line. Usually this means that the jacket will have a higher button stance, but that’s not the case, as Sarto has narrowed the spacing. The result is something very similar to a few two-button 30s-40s jackets that I’ve seen, which perhaps is why I like it so much!

Add this to my list of future MTM commissions. And by future, I mean way-way-way down the road, when I have more money that doesn’t need to go to car payments.

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Kaga-san ties.

 

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A few vintage watches for sale.

The best pair from Chad Prom.

The next B&Tailor product I tried was the Chad Prom denim. For those who don’t know, Chad Prom is the RTW arm of B&Tailor, which seems to be directly run (and designed) by Chad Park.  It’s a bit more eclectic, but that’s what makes it charming!

The most famous offering from Chad Prom is their high rise denim, which reached an almost meme like status in menswear circles.  It was pre-Bryceland’s, so Chad Prom really was one of the first brands that made high-rise, trouser-adjacent denim.  I credit it with me wanting to find a good pair of jeans that worked well with tailoring.  I even tried to experiment with dad-jean styles, as Chad Prom had specific washes that wasn’t the typical rugged indigo selvedge.

They all had a very nice, tailoring-esque silhouette, making them similar to chinos in cut. I will say that I’m not a big fan of the short fly, as it makes things look a bit too “hiked up”, especially in comparison to my other jeans which have a longer, more proportionate fly. However, I do like the soft feel and great drape on the jeans.  Certainly different than my preferred style, but I’m glad I was able to experience them for myself and show them to you guys!

A very light, stone wash.

This has to be the wildest pair: a super soft, pleated pair. It’s probably a mix with linen or something, because it’s less “jean” feeling than the previous pairs.  It really is just denim cut like trousers! It also appears to be a bit more tapered than the others.

I got a lot of flak from my followers on this one and while it isn’t my favorite out of the bunch, it’s still a cool concept. I know that Chad Park has a fascination with denim tailoring and it shows in this design.

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In addition to their own RTW and Chad Park, they also have a curated selection from Drop 93, the Armoury’s reselling arm. On their site, you can find pre-owned luxury menswear ranging from Drake’s ties to Liverano suits. It’s still pretty pricey compared to the crazy finds I’ve gotten, but it’s certainly more affordable than full retail.  Think of it as the classic menswear version of Grailed!

Nothing was really in my size, but I did barely squeeze into this 46 (36 US) Tailor Caid blazer.

It’s also important to note that Sarto Ginza works closely with Craftsman Clothing, makers of custom leather/suede jackets and gurkha trousers.  I didn’t get a chance to try anything on (I think Sarto only had fitting jackets for custom order), but it’s just another reason to come back! And spend more money.

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I finished off my visit by snapping a few pictures of Moto for the blog! I wanted to take pictures of his well dressed staff (as they rocked tailored jackets with the Chad Prom denim), but they were all busy serving clients.

I know I already talked about it a bit during the style recap, but I really loved his outfit.  You guys are pretty familiar with my love of brown in tailoring, and his outfit really does it well, contrasting a light houndstooth against a darker olive-esque chino.

While I do like high-contrast summer outfits, the bold use of color is a move I don’t normally do. However, I’ve been wanting to dip my toes into it with every new outfit I see! Here, Moto uses a great spread collar polo in a lovely green that stands out amazingly.  I love the shape of the collar as well as the deep placket, but the color is the true star!

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Gurkha-esque trousers.

Conclusion

Sarto Ginza was the last menswear store I visited during my trip, so it seems fitting that we close the Japan trip coverage with it!  It’s a fantastic little store in Ginza, that is probably the most unique combination of services I’ve ever seen, with their house MTM and alteration services, to their RTW stock of B&Tailor and Sevenfold.  Moto really has done a lot in the limited space he has, even sharing it with a bespoke shoe maker!

It’s really worth a visit and I’m glad I made a point to check it out, despite having a very hectic schedule. Moto was incredibly welcoming and humored me with everything I wanted to ask or try on (especially the B&Tailor stuff). I had a great time! Be sure to check it out if you can during your next trip to Japan.

Maybe you’ll have to bring a suit that basically needs to be remade from scratch!

Always a pleasure,

@EthanMWong

 

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