Precision and Flair: Ring Jacket

Japanese brand Ring Jacket combines scrupulous attention to detail with the easy charm of the Italian tailoring tradition. While the company has been making suits for over half a century, for most of its history they were produced on behalf of luxury retailers, and it is only in recent years that Ring Jacket has been steadily gaining recognition and accolades outside Japan. They are best known today for suits and jackets with soft construction, modern cuts, and exclusive, innovative Japanese fabrics.

It’s something of a cliché in menswear that you can only have one or the other: the immaculate finishing and formality of Savile Row, or else the softer, brighter, more casual Italian styles, and a similarly relaxed attitude to the garment itself. Rigour or sprezzatura. Ring Jacket’s success has been founded on the conviction that it’s possible to have both. Much like the great Japanese distillers’ approach to Scottish single malts, their approach has been to celebrate, study, refine, and perfect.

The company was founded in 1954 by Jhoichi Fukushima, a former insurance salesman, and produced suits in the tradition of American Ivy style. The original factory, in Kaizuka City, Osaka, remains in operation to this day. But it wasn’t a bastion of Japanese Ivy forever. In 1980, Richard Gere wore Armani in American Gigolo, signalling Italian tailoring’s ascent to the international stage. Riding the wave of Italian enthusiasm through the ’80s, and assisted by numerous trips to Naples, Fukushima-san guided Ring Jacket towards a distinct, southern Italian style we see today: wider lapels, soft shoulders, and minimal padding.

It’s not easy to produce quality tailoring at scale without losing the heart of an artisanal product. Yet Ring Jacket preserves many traditional elements of craft found in the Italian sartoria within the rigour of a sophisticated modern factory. Buttons are sewn and coats are pressed by hand. A thin, lightweight canvas chest-piece is used, and collars and sleeves are also hand-attached. The factory uses traditional paper patterns, and cloth is hand-cut—but laser-guided—in a marriage of old and new technology. The same innovation can be seen in Ring’s exclusive fabrics, such as ‘Calm Twist’ business suiting and the comfortable pure wool ‘Balloon’ fabric.

Beyond the suits, all of Ring Jacket’s pieces today have this same sensibility. They are modern takes on classic garments, from shirts in cotton chambray and soft jersey to the stunning double- breasted polo coat in ‘Balloon’ wool. And there are some brilliant pieces of cross-cultural achievement: a suit of English flannel in an Italian cut executed with Japanese precision.

The biggest problem with Ring Jacket’s garments for European customers has been finding them. This April, Friday 3rd – Saturday 4th, Ring Jacket will hold their first ever trunk show at the Chiltern Street store. The team will be available to measure customers for the made-to- measure programme and showcase their exclusive fabrics as well as vintage and deadstock swatch books. Now’s the time to think about summer suits for this year’s weddings. It will also be a rare chance to browse the extended collection of trousers, sport coats, and outerwear on this side of Osaka.

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