Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo original California State tribute “CALI-JAN” souvenir jacket, Limited Edition, crafted in Japan, 2023

 

 

 

MF® “CALI-JAN” souvenir jacket
Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo 2023
Made in Japan

Our initial collaboration on an old-school souvenir-type jacket with “Tailor Toyo” was the Party Jacket” (2015 Saigon Cowboy collection, aka Charlie-gate), followed by the “Mururoa Jacket” (mfsc 2016 Anniversary Collection) and moon landing with the “Apollo ’69 Jacket” in 2017.

Tailor Toyo is undeniably the world’s most legit manufacturer of traditional  Sukajan (スカジャン) garments, i.e. the flashy embroidered jackets everyone into heritage fashion is familiar with today. See my 2015 ramblings for a deep dive into the historical background of those jackets.
For those noticing the “Kosho & Co” paper tags, this was an old established Japanese fabric trading company. It merged with TOYO Enterprises around 1965. Tailor Toyo took over Kosho’s souvenir jackets’ business at the time, and has been considered the most legit producer of traditional and authentic Sukajan since.

The name “Sukajan” originated in the port of YOKOSUKA, Japan, sometime in the late 1940s. After becoming a U.S. Navy base in 1946, local traditional silk embroidery tailors started seeing a demand for customized uniforms, eventually leading to creating flashy original custom-made jackets (jumpers) for military personnel stationed in occupied Japan. The jackets, featuring elaborate Japanese motifs and at-times boasting unit/branch pride blended with local flavor, were intended to be worn off-duty, or as bring-home souvenirs. Kid-size Sukajan that pop up on the vintage market once in a while are surviving examples of happy  “Daddy’s home!” moments.

This customization practice was probably inherited from the old naval tradition of personalizing one’s gear (hand-painted sea bags with mermaids and the likes, concealed hand-stitched “branding” eventually evolving into the concept of “liberty cuffs”), and taken to the next level by the US Asiatic Fleet touring exotic locations where skilled tailors offered their services for affordable bespoke uniforms.

After some sustained popularity with post-WWII American troops stationed in Europe and with US Armed Forces during the Korean War (1950-53), the Sukajan made a splashy comeback with boots on the ground involved in the Vietnam conflict (1954-75).

Those 1960s-era South-East Asia Sukajan are also referred-to as Viet-Jan (aka Vietjan, or vietojam, whatever works phonetically in Japan.) These are often way less PC than their Japanese forefathers. Most vintage VietJan convey the gung-ho vibe of period military morale patches, not exactly everyone’s cup of tea – or rather “half oat milk/half regular organic milk iced cappuccino, I appreciate you, thanks” – in today’s new paradigm of softer “cancel culture”.

Embroidery designs to choose from in local shops were many while in country. The catchy rocker “When I die I’ll go to Heaven because I’ve spent my time in Hell” was a popular classic, often riding atop a colored map of South East Asia, with North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia embroidered in four primary colors. Thailand got lost, blending in the color of the jacket base fabric.

The style of embroidery techniques and jacket bodies greatly differed according to the Theater of Operation. Japan-made Sukajan mostly flashed elaborate machine-made embroideries using fine silk threads on rayon acetate or velvet bodies, and were often reversible. A more discreet “B” side was an option the wearer might find better suited for specific occasions or civvy crowds. Vietjan tended to feature hand-stitched cotton yarn embroideries on a cheap black cotton twill body, or a GI-issued ERDL poncho liner, and lined with whatever recycled fabric was around. Authentic vintage Sukajan and Vietjan are highly collectible today, and valuable slices of History no one can/should erase.

For our CALI-JAN project, we wanted to merge both vintage 1950s Sukajan and 1960s Vietjan vibes, and, for the graphics, remove military references while paying tribute to our beautiful State of California… Simple task. After a bit of creative R&D, eureka, we had our “could have existed” design plan!

We decided to go with a map of California as the main rear panel statement, but in the style of Vietjan four-color maps. Versions of this idea had been explored before, but, from what I quickly gathered on the interwebs, using cheap silkscreening prints or computer-operated embroidery machines producing mass volumes, rather than the authentic period style hand-operated machines that actually required an operator’s dedication and skills. This artisanal way of applying embroidered motifs is sometimes referred-to as “free embroidery” (i.e. not automatic/programmed), where the operator moves the fabric panel under the fine needle in order to fill-in sections/render shading/change direction etc.
Anyone who’s tried their hands at old-school chain-stitching with an antique Cornely or Singer 114w103, although a totally different process and set of skills, may relate to the tediousness and challenge.

On the graphic front, we had room to play, these are the references for the “A” side:

First off, blue and gold is not only a traditional and desirable color combo for 1950s vintage rayon acetate Sukajan, but they also happen to be the official colors of the State of California.

On the chest stands the mighty JOE GREENE, our 12 yo Toy Poodle, 8 1/2 pounds of pure resilience and badassness, venerated patriarch of the MF® family.

“Cowabunga, dude” is an expression associated with vintage surfing culture (surf is the actual official sport of the State of CA), a dated line roughly meaning “cool, man!” while conveying surprise. Joe (like Charlie) don’t surf, but he’s 100% California native.

The Joshua tree is an endangered and very rare species of US Southwest desert trees, symbol of JT National Park and the Mojave Desert, and CA desert culture. Don’t mess with them.

For the map graphic, there are several ways to split California in sections, some politically controversial. We opted for the four main natural geographical regions. Yellow is the Pacific Coast, blue are the mountainous areas, green the Central Valley, and red the desert.

We playfully only selected a few cities to highlight:
* Sacramento: makes sense as our State Capital.
* San Francisco: not referenced on the map by its usual Golden Gate Bridge but rather by Frank Bullitt’s 1968 “highland green” Ford Mustang GT.
* Bakersfield: small town, home of the Bakersfield Sound (a specific Country & Western music style/sound), pinned on the map by Buck Owens’ Mosrite Guitar-made patriotic red/white/blue acoustic, brought to fame on his popular TV show Hee-Haw.
* Los Angeles: of course, Mister Freedom®’s home at 7161 Beverly Blvd, surrounded by iconic California poppies, our beautiful official state flower.
* Santa Catalina Island: my favorite CA island, thanks to a few fabulous Aliens from out of this world (Allyn/Scott/Jillian/John/Mario/…)
Norma Jeane is striking the pose on a beach in Avalon, far from Hollywood’s spotlights. She briefly lived on the island in the mid 1940s with her first husband, one lucky Merchant Marine.

The waves and hand-drawn cursive lettering are inspired by traditional Japanese Sukajan styles.

We opted for a quilted “A” side, inspired by that vintage New Old Stock “Kosho & Co” Sukajan I scored around 1992 in an Oklahoma City, OK, remote Salvation Army store, a fun anecdote related here if you’re bored.

For the “B” side, we opted for a complimenting rayon blue/red color combo, non-quilted construction.

The hand-drawn “California” lettering of the back has more of a vintage satin baseball jacket style, reminiscent of 1950s club jackets. Spin some old school street-corner harmonies like “The Wanderer” (1961) by Dion & the Belmonts and watch the 1979 flick for the Wanderers gang ref.

The California Republic’s “brown grizzly bear walking a patch of green grass” adopted in 1911 was an obvious choice for the “B” side chest, flanked by a thorny succulent, because who doesn’t like a wheel cactus…

Our choice of traditional two-sided red/white/blue ribbed knit trims for cuffs/waistband/collar completes the picture. This loosely-knit wool blend ribbing is typical of authentic Sukajan, and is a far cry from contemporary stretchy elastic webbing used on modern athletic jackets.

As always, the design part (i.e. doodling) was the easiest. Rough drawings and confusingly-worded round-eye instructions were passed on to the experts at Tailor Toyo. They looked at it all, stared at each other, shook heads and rolled eyes, yet went to work to make it all happen!
Sketches were translated into embroidery patterns for sample making. Many adjustments followed until everyone was happy with the final prototype.

Months later, expert embroidery machine craftsmen with decades of experience worked their magic for one single, labor-intensive very limited production run.

There it is.

The MF® x Tailor Toyo “CALI-JAN” souvenir jacket is designed in California, USA by Mister Freedom®, and crafted with love in limited edition in Japan by Toyo Enterprise.

SPECS:

PATTERN:
An original mfsc/Tailor Toyo pattern inspired by 1950s Sukajan and 1960s Vietjan souvenir/tour jackets.

FABRIC:
Fine 100% rayon acetate twill “A” and “B” sides.
Quilted “A” side with 100% cotton fiber batting (padding).

DETAILS:
* Authentic vintage Japan-made “souvenir jacket” style, inspired by 1950s-1960s off-duty custom-made jackets sported by US Armed Forces personnel stationed “in country”.
* All original MF® artwork, blending vintage Sukajan and Vietjan aesthetics.
* Fully reversible, “A” side blue/gold with quilted pattern, and “B” side dark red/blue.
* Traditional Sukajan silk thread embroidery work performed by expert Japanese craftsmen with decades of experience on hand-operated “free-embroidery” machines.
* Vintage-style double-sided (reversible) “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper.
* Traditional 100% cotton batting backing for quilted “A” side.
* Vintage-style soft wool knit trims, loosely-knit ribbing as 1950s Sukajan originals.
* Double labelling (inside slash pocket on blue side), featuring both KOSHO & Co (the original name of the Yokohama fabric trading company that would merge with TOYO Enterprises around 1965, today the World’s most respected sukajan manufacturer under the “Tailor Toyo” label), alongside the MF® rayon woven label.
* Limited collector’s edition.
* Designed in USA.
* Crafted in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
The Mister Freedom® CALI-JAN souvenir jacket has been carefully processed (rinsed and steamed) by experienced sukajan-expert garment professionals.
It has a vintage appearance due to the light puckering of the stitching and embroidery, and subtle shrinking of the rayon fabric. Do not attempt to hot-soak or wash this garment, it has already been processed and is ready-to-wear.
The CALI-JAN may be considered true-to-size by some, or running a bit small for others, according to body types and fit expectations. It features a slightly longer body than some of the original vintage Sukajan with their often shrunken and cropped bodies.

I now navigate between MEDIUM and SMALL in mfsc jackets, and opted for a Medium in the CALI-JAN. The SMALL fit better in length for my tastes, but was too tight in the chest. I am ~ 5.7′ / 145 Lbs.

Please refer to sizing chart for approximate measurements. Note that due to the raglan sleeve pattern, arm length is measured from armpit (not shoulder seam) to knit cuff.

CARE:
Professional dry clean ONLY, in your local eco-friendly dry-cleaning facility.
Again, DO NOT wash this jacket! This is quite a fragile garment, due to both the nature of the fine rayon twill and the intricate delicate silk-thread embroidery that could snag easily. In other words, this garment is not intended for gardening.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane msfc FW2023 LookBook Preview, PART 1: “Survival School” & Cali-Jan

A) Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL”

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

 

 

* Mister Freedom® x Buzz Rickson’s MA-1 “BAILOUT” Flyer’s Jacket *

“Where is my kit?”, Joe Greene, castaway ©2023

“Down, but not out! I got this!”, Joe Greene ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

MF® MA-1 Bailout Flyer’s Jacket ©2023

 

 

 

 

* Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane MF-41 UTILITY Jacket & MECHANIC Trousers, OG-107 Sateen *

MF® MF-41 UTILITY Jacket & MECHANIC Trousers, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

MF® MF-41 UTILITY Jacket & MECHANIC Trousers, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

MF® MF-41 UTILITY Jacket, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

MF® MF-41 UTILITY Jacket, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

MF® MECHANIC Trousers, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

MF® MECHANIC Trousers, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

MF® MECHANIC Trousers, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

MF® MECHANIC Trousers, OG-107 Sateen ©2023

 

 

* Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane SNIPES Shirt, HBT, Army Green Shade 44 *

MF® MF-41 UTILITY Jacket, MECHANIC Trousers & SNIPES Shirt ©2023

MF® SNIPES Shirt, Army Green shade 44 HBT ©2023

MF® SNIPES Shirt, Army Green shade 44 HBT ©2023

MF® SNIPES Shirt, Army Green shade 44 HBT ©2023

MF® SNIPES Shirt, Army Green shade 44 HBT ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co FW2023 “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” ©2023

 

* Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth *

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Jungle Cloth & PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Khaki Jungle Cloth ©2023

 

 

* Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane PEACOAT, 14 Oz. SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim *

MF® PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Jungle Cloth & PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

MF® BARNSTORMER Jacket, Jungle Cloth & PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

 

MF® PEACOAT, SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim ©2023

 

 

B) Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket, A-SIDE ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket, B-SIDE ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket ©2023

 

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co mfsc FW2023 Preview, PART 1:

FW2023 blog preview has been split in two parts for clarity, and is broken down in three A) B) C) groupings.

Dear Friends,

Hope this finds you well, healthy, and in good spirits.
Here is a preview of our Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane (mfsc) SS2023 collaboration, for your consideration.

Unlike what this avalanche of visuals suggests, we’ve kept things streamlined and concise this season. First grouping is a new capsule concept we’re calling “SURVIVAL SCHOOL”, small but packing a lotta punch, and featuring a collaboration piece with Buzz Rickson’s, to celebrate their 30th Anniversary.

A) FW2023 mfsc “SURVIVAL SCHOOL”:

This mfsc FW2023 “Survival School” capsule collection is an original line up freely-inspired by 40s~70s US military survival gear, vintage experimental MIL-SPECS garments, early NASA astronauts training program visuals etc.

Brief historical background of our storyline:

In the early days of WW2, a downed pilot’s chances of being rescued and making it back to safety were very slim.
The USAAF  (United States Army Air Force) soon realized that training a serviceman in the art of flying was not enough. Arial combat training was lengthy, qualifying candidates few, so a skilled flyer needed to survive after a bail-out.
A downed aviator’s field experience was invaluable knowledge, and sharing that experience with new pilot recruits was crucial.

The odds of returning to base camp started changing with the establishment of “Survival Schools”, and the implementation by the DoD of proper “Survival – Evasion – Escape” training for all flying personnel. (timeline for USAAF here)

Newly-designed experimental gear was also being issued and tested in combat situations and survival circumstances.
Starting in the mid-1940s, official films recreating fictitious survival scenarios (jungle, desert, mountains, arctic) were produced, and became required viewing during training and on base. (Castaway, 1944)
Swimming skills became a requirement for all aircrews. Survival crash courses through tough physical training and studies of illustrated manuals became mandatory for Army Air Force and USN flyers.
Training in basic survival skills, acquiring jungle and mountain terrain knowledge, exotic fauna and flora expertise, learning about wilderness adaptability, food foraging, land navigation techniques, cold and hot weather survival, local language and customs essentials, expertise in blending with the elements to avoid capture, evasion tactics, …, all lead to greater chances to make it home for American flyboys.

Techniques, technology, and TO (Theater of Operations) have obviously evolved through the years for US Armed Forces, and so have instructions in survival manuals. If what applied to the Korean cold front in the 50s had to be adapted to Vietnam’s steamy jungles in the 60s, the basics and message remained the same after “Survival School”: “you now have the skills to live another day”, Sir.

For more background on our R&D inspiration and design process, check out:
* Vintage USAAF and USN pilot survival gear.
* Visuals from 1950s-1970s US military survival program, from “Arctic Indoctrination Survival School” (aka “Cool School”) to “Tropical Survival School” (aka “Green Hell”), to “Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape” (SERE) training.
* Visuals from NASA astronauts on desert/jungle survival training (+ here) or geological field trips ( photos 19651965196519671969…)

One may notice the double labelling, branding this small collection.
The bottom woven label is our familiar “MFSC Naval Clothing Tailor”, partly covered by a printed cloth label stitched on top, a nod to the little-known Quartermaster Research Facility (aka Natick Army Labs), a US Department of Defense organization located in Natick, Massachusetts. The “CLOTHING & TEXTILE RESEARCH UNIT” has been tasked with designing and developing anything from new uniforms/gear/fabrics/camo/etc for the US military since 1952. The double labelling conveys the “test gear” approach of our designs.

Again, no replicas this season, just imagined (or re-imagined) garments that “might have been”, with the usual grain of salt and design liberties we like to take with History, and the reassurance that we do not take ourselves too seriously, resulting in garments easily workable into a classic wardrobe.

FW2023 mfsc “SURVIVAL SCHOOL” line-up:

1) MA-1 “BAILOUT” Flyer’s Jacket, Mister Freedom® x Buzz Rickson’s 30th Anniversary:
Inspiration: Vintage early to mid-60s USAF MA-1 (MIL-J8279 Type D) flight jackets.
Fabric: heavy 2×2 nylon twill shell (rescue orange) and lining (1960s sage green).

* All period-correct Mil-Specs fabric & trims + construction/manufacturing/expertise courtesy of Buzz Rickson’s (Toyo Enterprise)
* Fully reversible, Indian orange side out as the main side.
* Wool knit collar/cuffs and zipper tape: contrast sage green.
* Vintage Mil-Specs zippers and wool/cotton pile interlining.
* Sleeve utility pocket on rescue orange side.
* Made in Japan as a collaboration with Buzz Rickson’s.
Note: CL production size = SMALL

2) MF-41 UTILITY Jacket:
Inspiration: US Army M1941 HBT utility jacket + mfsc 2015 Utility Jacket
Fabric: OG-107 cotton sateen, vintage Mil-Specs, 9 Oz.

* Black painted starburst tack buttons.
* Unlined, all clean seams.
* Made in Japan
Note: CL production size = SMALL

3) MECHANIC Trousers:
Inspiration: 1950s USAF mechanic Utility Trousers (MIL-T-4335A) + mfsc 2014 Mechanic Trousers
Fabric: OG-107 cotton sateen, vintage Mil-Specs, 9 Oz.

* Orange cotton rip-stop inside reinforcement accents.
* Orange snap accent on side cinch tabs.
* Button fly, corozo buttons.
* Map pocket on left lower leg.
* Made in Japan
Note: CL production size = W30 or W32

4) SNIPES Shirt:
Inspiration: a revisited vintage 1930’s US Army wool uniform pattern + our classic mfsc 2020 Snipes Shirt.
Fabric: Cotton HBT cloth, ~6 Oz., Army Green shade 44 (AG-44), white selvedge ID.
Note: CL production size = SMALL or MEDIUM

4) BARNSTORMER Jacket:
Inspiration: 10-button Peacoat + 2010 mfsc P-Jacket + vintage civilian 1940s USN “Barnstormer” deck jackets.
Fabric: Heavy 100% cotton jungle cloth, 14 Oz., 1940s USN khaki.

* Classic 1910s~1920s USN wool peacoat pattern/construction.
* Fully lined (beige corduroy for body & OG-107 sateen for arms)
* 1920s style 13-Star buttons.
* Black leather contrast pocket welt/pocket stops.
* Detachable chin strap.
* Tonal stitching.
* Made in Japan.
Note: CL production size = 38

5) Denim PEACOAT:
Inspiration: revisited original mfsc 2008 denim P-Jacket (Peacoat), our take on vintage 10-button USN/USCG Peacoats.
Fabric: Sugar Cane Co original SC301 “Okinawa” fiber denim, 14 Oz., 80% cotton x 20% Okinawan recycled sugarcane fibers, white selvedge ID.

* Classic 1910s~1920s USN wool peacoat pattern/construction.
* Fully lined (beige corduroy for body & OG-107 sateen for arms)
* 1920s style 13-Star buttons.
* Black leather contrast pocket welt/pocket stops.
* Detachable chin strap.
* Ivory contrast stitching.
* Made in Japan
Note: CL production size = 38

 

 

B) Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo FW2023 “CALI-JAN” Souvenir Jacket:

Next up is our 4th collaboration to date with Tailor Toyo (renown branch of Toyo Enterprises), the Master of “Sukajan”, and this number stands on its own.

Inspiration: This style of jackets has its origin in the naval base of Yokosuka, Japan, where skilled tailor shops have provided souvenir apparel to military personnel stationed there since the mid-1940s.
Sukajan is a composite word morphing (Yoko)Suka and the term Jaanpa borrowed from the english word jumper (ie. baseball/bomber style jacket.)

Following our debut 2015 Saigon Cowboy Party Jacket, explosive 2016 Mururoa Jacket, stellar 2017 Apollo Jacket, here comes the CALI-JAN, blending California vibes, 1960’s Vietnam-made souvenir jacket graphics (Viet-Jan) and 1950’s Japan-made jacket styles and visuals.

We were in uncharted waters during R&D, with many choices to make regarding style/color combo/stitching/etc, and I was very attached to not end-up with an original garment that would look too contemporary or fashiony. And, as the CALI-JAN would be fully reversible, there were two sides to consider!

At the end of a long process – and thanks to the team of experts at Tailor Toyo, the company’s long history with producing authentic sukajan, extensive communication with our dear friend Tanaka San (aka Tom) to coordinate it all, and, to the credit of Toyo’s network of skilled and experienced artisans who hand-operate the vintage embroidery machines –  this modern rendition (from a poorly-executed doodle to the finished garment) turned out pretty cool!
Our 2023 CALIJAN looks legit, straight out of Dobuita Dōri circa 1955!

The original graphic pays respect to our beloved State of California, USA, and references a mixed bag of random iconic slices of Americana, from Frank Bullit’s 1968 green Mustang in the streets of San Francisco, to Buck Owen’s cheap patriotic acoustic guitar and the Bakersfield Sound, to Marilyn Monroe’s time on Catalina Island, to 1960’s surfer culture (CA State official sport), to California poppies (CA State official flower), to Blue & Gold (CA State official colors), to the endangered Joshua Trees etc…
And of course, the ubiquitous Joe Greene, aka Couscous, Sleepy Joe, the Dude, …, and actually the only native Californian involved in this whole project!
Cowabunga, says the Dude.

Fabric: 100% rayon fine twill.

* Fully reversible.
* Traditional ‘loose’ two-tone wool knit.
* Vintage style 50s zipper.
* Quilted pattern shell.
* Crafted (this word is abused in but does apply here) in Japan in very limited quantities.
Note: CL production size = MEDIUM

Next blog post will focus on FW2023 additions to the Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane SPORSTMAN catalog, and more…

Hang in there, and thanks for taking the time to look/read!

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2023

 

 

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo original ” Apollo ’69 ” souvenir jacket, Limited Edition, Fall 2017.

 

Apollo 11 Mission launch (July 16, 1969)
Photo © NASA

Agnew LBJ Apollo 11 liftoff (July 16, 1969)
Photo © NASA

Neil Armstrong (July 20, 1969)
Photo © NASA

Buzz Aldrin (July 20, 1969)
Photo © NASA

Apollo 11 Aldrin’s Bootprint (July 20, 1969)
Photo © NASA

 

 

 

Apollo 11 Pararescue (July 24, 1969)
Photo © NASA

Apollo 11 crew quarantine R. Nixon (July 24, 1969)
Photo © 2017

Apollo 11 NYC Parade (July 20, 1969)
Photo © NASA

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo original “APOLLO ’69” souvenir jacket.
Limited edition, Fall 2017.
Made in Japan.
(not endorsed by NASA)

If you happen to shake your head in disbelief often, reading news headlines or witnessing high-speed Texting & Driving, avoid a permanent state of misanthropy by calmly repeating these words:
“OK… same species that went to the moon.”
It almost works.

????

For Fall 2017, we are at it again with the today-popular ‘souvenir jackets’, in the footsteps of our Saigon CowboyParty Jacket” (Spring 2015) and “Mururoa Jacket” (Anniversary Collection Fall 2016).
Blessed to have the opportunity to collaborate again with one of the World’s most legit manufacturer of Sukajan (スカジャン), “Tailor Toyo” (a branch of Toyo Enterprises, our long-time Japanese partners and friends), we decided to leave battlefields and nuclear testing behind, and look instead towards Cape Canaveral and the amazing moon men of NASA for inspiration.

If July 20, 2019 will mark the 5oth Anniversary of Man’s most famous recorded footsteps, we decided to celebrate a bit early. After a few cups of brain juice, we handed a handful of original doodles and scribbles to the “Tailor Toyo” sukajan experts, along with confusing instructions. Our choice of artwork , garment pattern, combination of colors and knit trims, aimed at creating a plausible ‘vintage’ piece, a jacket that never existed, but with a convincing authentic feel.

Original MF® doodles ©2017. Notice the added olive branch…

As a design anecdote, one will notice that we too added an olive tree branch to our landing star-spangled bald eagle (i.e. the Lunar Module), in the same way that Astronaut Michael Collins edited his original sketch of the Apollo 11 cloth patch. The added symbolic branch better conveyed the initial message of Peace, rather than the menacing attitude of an all-talons-out eagle. The mission’s intent was to “Come in Peace for all Mankind” afterall.
Watch this short PBS clip retracing how the iconic 1969 patch came to be, and featuring Collins’ original historical sketches.

Back to Earth… After submitting the artwork to our friends at Toyo Enterprises, it was time for the MF® team to sit back and resume daily routine, mostly waterskiing and zeroing in on Pokémon. After a lengthy R&D gestation, we are happy to report that our ‘moon jacket’ (how we referred to here) has now landed.
And we kinda dig it.

The “Apollo ’69” souvenir jacket is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Toyo Enterprises.

NOTE: This garment is not endorsed by NASA.
Historical photography courtesy of Apollo Image Archives ©NASA.

SPECS
FABRIC:
Luxurious and fine 100% rayon twill.

DETAILS:
* Inspired by vintage traditional Sukajan (originally manufactured in occupied Japan, these garments were tour souvenir custom-made for US military personnel).
* Fully reversible, no inside padding.
* Silk thread embroidery, featuring original MF® artwork relating to NASA’s Apollo 11 Moon landing that occurred on July 20, 1969.
* Vintage-style double-sided “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper.
* Double labelling (inside slash pocket on blue side), featuring both KOSHO & Co (the original name of the Yokohama fabric trading company that would merge with TOYO Enterprises around 1965, today the World’s most respected sukajan manufacturer under the “Tailor Toyo” label), alongside the MF® rayon woven label.
* Limited collector’s edition.
* Designed in USA.
* Made in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
The Apollo ’69 souvenir jacket has been carefully rinsed and steamed by experienced sukajan-expert garment professionals.
It has a vintage appearance due to the light puckering of the stitching and embroidery, and subtle shrinking of the rayon fabric. Do not attempt to hot-soak or wash this garment, it has already been processed and is ready-to-wear.
The Apollo ’69 is true-to-size, with somewhat of a ‘vintage’ fit, typical of the old original rayon Japanese souvenir jackets. I am usually a Medium in mfsc jackets, and opted for a Medium in the ‘Moon jacket’.

Please refer to sizing chart for approximate measurements. Note that due to the raglan sleeve pattern, arm length is measured from armpit (not shoulder seam) to knit cuff.

CARE:
Professional dry clean ONLY, in your local eco-friendly dry-cleaning facility.
Again, DO NOT wash this jacket! This is quite a fragile garment, due to both the nature of the fine rayon twill and the intricate delicate silk-thread embroidery that could snag easily. In other words, this garment is not intended for gardening.

Available professionally pre-rinsed.
SIZES:
Small (36)
Medium (38)
Large (40)
X-Large (42)
XX-Large (44)

RETAIL $989.95

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2017

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo Mururoa Souvenir Jacket, Limited Edition, Fall 2016

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Mururoa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia, 1980.

Mururoa Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia, 1980.

Mururoa nuclear test, 1971. Courtesy Getty Images, Gallerie Bilderwelt.

Nuclear test on Mururoa, 1971. Courtesy Getty Images, Gallerie Bilderwelt.

Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo ‘Mururoa Souvenir Jacket’
Fall 2016 Limited Edition
Made in Japan

When one thinks of French Polynesia, what pops to mind is often quite ethereal.
Upa Upa moves, paréo attire, whiffs of monoï, slurps of coconut juice, vahiné and turquoise lagoons, selfies in speedos… and an urge to learn how to weave your own tāupo’oa traditional Tahitian hat entirely made from a branch of pandanus, a native shrub also know as -I’m not making this up- screw pine.

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My pandanus, Bora Bora, 2016.

Not to darken that vista with a radioactive plume, but should you ask Tuamotus residents about the Mururoa atoll, you might get exposed to a slightly different perspective. There was trouble in paradise.
Watch this (in french), if so inclined.

This Fall 2016 Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo collaboration, our second venture into camouflaging a heavy past in fashionable lightness, is referring to the controversial legacy of 50 years of nuclear testing conducted by the government of France on the remote atoll of Mururoa, from 1966 to 1996.

Our ‘souvenir jacket’ is no replica and was conceived from scratch. Because there’s always two sides to a story, it is also fully reversible.

The limited edition ’Mururoa Souvenir Jacket’ is designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and expertly-crafted in Japan by world-famous Tailor Toyo, purveyors of fine historical sukajan-type garments. Tailor Toyo is a branch of Toyo Enterprises, parent company of our long-time partners and friends Sugar Cane Co and Buzz Rickson’s.

SPECS
FABRIC:
The reversible “Mururoa Souvenir Jacket” can be worn either side out.
Side A:
A soft, pleasantly non-itchy, dark navy blue melton wool fabric (90% wool – 10 % Nylon). This is the same wool fabric used by Buzz Rickson’s for their 10-button USN WW2 replica peacoat.

Side B:
A blend of 57% cotton and 43% rayon black twill. This is the twill used by Buzz Rickson’s for their 10-button USN WW2 replica peacoat lining. This side features original artwork rayon yarn embroidered.

DETAILS:
* An all original mfsc pattern inspired by local-made vintage ’souvenir’ garments, cut from recycled Government-issued military uniforms. Our jacket takes cues from vintage USN Dress Blues that could have been customized into a zip-up jacket by a local tailor.
* Fully reversible and comfortably wearable on both sides even with a short-sleeve shirt.
* 1950’s style reversible sukajan double pull “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper.
* Original MF® artwork back embroidery on Side B, rayon yarn stitching.
* US Navy Dress Blues chest pocket and arcuate back yoke.
* Six pockets total.
* Two MF® original design liberty cuffs.
* Side cinch tabs, USN CPO anchor buttons.
* One piece chin strap collar pattern.
* Double labeling, MF® & Tailor Toyo woven labels concealed in left pocket.
* Limited Edition.
* Made in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
The “Mururoa Souvenir Jacket” is true to size. This is a dry-clean only garment, so no shrinkage issue.
I wear a 38, my usual size in mfsc jackets. The jacket fits quite snugly when zipped-up, but with enough room to be worn with a MF® Tricot Marin and a Flannelette Garrison Shirt without impairing on your morning Tai Chi routine. 

Please refer to sizing chart for measurements.

mururoa-jacket

CARE:
Professional eco-friendly DRY CLEAN only.

Available RAW/unwashed
SIZES:
X-Small (34)
Small (36)
Medium (38)
Large (40)
X-Large (42)
XX-Large (44)

RETAIL $749.95

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2016

The “Party Jacket”, Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Spring 2015

Party Jacket Mister Freedom Tailor Toyo 2015

Party Jacket Mister Freedom Tailor Toyo 2015

 

Party Jacket Mister Freedom Tailor Toyo 2015

Party Jacket Mister Freedom Tailor Toyo 2015

Party Jacket Mister Freedom Tailor Toyo 2015

Souvenir shop at Camp Reasoner (1968) Courtesy Doc Chapman 1st Recon Bn

Souvenir shop at Camp Reasoner (1968) Courtesy Doc Chapman 1st Recon Bn

 

“Party Jacket”
Mister Freedom® x Tailor Toyo
Toyo Enterprises 50th Anniversary Limited Edition

There’s your common Fashion Industry introduction:
* Men’s cotton Jacket, embroidered, reversible. Awesome summer look! Won’t last!
* S to XL
* Import
* $ 749.95
* Buy Now.

And there’s the MF® saga version mentioning Ancient Rome, for the semiotics-inclined.
Here she goes:

It had been a very long and muggy day in that Oklahoma rag house, sorting through endless bales of used clothing as a recently-promoted vintage buyer for American Rag Cie in the early 1990’s. Back then, a few mills, who’s core business it had been for decades to recycle textiles, exporting containers of graded wearables to Africa and Asia for a few cents on the pound, and chopping the rest into wiping rags for the military or automotive industry, allowed selected pickers to come extract their ‘crème de la crème’. You would teach the grading staff in Spanish, then show up again some 3 months later to rummage through some understanding of your vintage clothing tutorial, in the form of several thousand-pound bales. It was all in the details: loop collar shirts, Hawaiian prints, side gussets, gabardine, rayon, Harris tweed, cotton madras, specific labels like Arrows or McGregor, ‘big three’ jackets (Lee Levi’s Wrangler), no acrylic or polyester, and… the mighty 501. The word selvedge had yet to become a social media hashtag, and these were times you’d rescue 1940’s beat-up Levi’s XXs from the ‘cut-to-rags’ or ‘#3 grade’ bins.
If I remember well, and I never do, the “light mix” (shirts, dresses…) was about $1.75 and the “heavy mix” (coats, #2 quality…) about $1.25 for Mid-West rag houses.

It was around 1992. No barrel activity. Each grading section had turned silent, quite the relief after 12 hours of distorted rancheras blasting from dozens of boom boxes simultaneously playing local AM radio shows. A sign I had earned my $7.00/hour for the day at Oklahoma Waste & Wiping Rags, OKC, OK.
On the way back to my Motel 6 color TV-equipped room, I traveled in style all expenses paid, I decided to stop at a road side Salvation Army store for some LP digging before the drive-through grub. I don’t remember anything about the 50 cents record bin, but i’ll never forget pulling a pristine quilted embroidered jacket off the women’s section, with a $9.95 price tag…
‘Japan jackets’, as most called them at the time, very rarely came out of rag houses for some reason, probably ending-up on Africa-bound cargo containers, mixed in bales of Chinese embroidered silk robes and shiny nightwear… Well, I had just scored an early 1950’s New Old Stock reversible Korea tour jacket, of vibrant gold blue and burgundy silk, with flying eagles and roaring tigers… and with its original paper tag dangling from the zipper pull!

Of little impact to me at the time was the specific maker mentioned on that advertising paper flasher. Finding a garment with its original packaging was the only way to ID the manufacturer of these souvenir jackets, as they tended to never feature a sewn label. The paper ticket read “KOSHO & Co”. Sounded Japanese…
Although damaged from sun exposure and moths today, this is probably the only piece of clothing I kept from that period.

1950's Souvenir Jacket from Kosho & Co. (book by Toyo Enterprises)

1950’s Souvenir Jacket from Kosho & Co. (book by Toyo Enterprises)

Some 12 years later, around 2004, I was approached by three well-dressed Gentlemen in Los Angeles, wanting to discuss a potential collaboration between Mister Freedom® and Sugar Cane Co. They announced themselves as Mr. Tanaka, Mr Fukutomi and Mr. Onma… from TOYO Enterprises, a renowned Japanese garment manufacturer I knew from its Sugar Cane Co fame.

Established by the Father of its current President, the avid Hawaiiana and Sukajan collector Mr. Kobayashi San with whom I would later be honored to share a bi-annual handshake, TOYO Enterprises had been supplying Yokosuka PX and local shops since the mid 60’s. Everything from 501-replica blue jeans (originally featuring a gold star stitched on the rear pockets) to assorted americaji  (American casual) goods, all the way to embroidered silk souvenir jackets popular with American military men stationed in Japan at the time. Serendipity has it that KOSHO & Co, an old established Japanese fabric trading company, had merged with TOYO Enterprises around 1965. Mr. Kobayashi’s team took over Kosho’s Sukajan business, and has been leading the pack since then.

Tom, Fukutomi and Honma from Toyo Enterprises (circa 2007)

Tom, Fukutomi and Honma from Toyo Enterprises (circa 2007)

Today, TOYO Enterprises is comprised of several specialized divisions, whose high standards are recognized worldwide: Sugar Cane Co, Buzz Rickson’s, Tailor Toyo, Sun Surf… 2015 marks the company’s 50th Anniversary.
For an insider’s look at Tailor Toyo’s expertise with Sukajan (スカジャン), check out this recent TV documentary (you can fast forward to 01:15), a glimpse at popular Japanese television shows targeting the young generation, English-speaker friendly. Omoshiroi! 🙂

Around the corner from Toyo Enterprises current HQ location in Ryogoku (an industrial neighborhood of North East Tokyo famous for its Sumotori schools and nightlife as exciting as a DMV appointment) stands a small shamisen shop run by an affable old Sensei I once met. In the store window are displayed official USAF aerial shots of the flattened out neighborhood, dated 1945. Recounting brutal stories about the death of thousands from US air raids during WW2, Sensei kept smiling, politely but genuinely, as if fully detached from that past. We respectfully bowed, he went back to his stringed instruments, and I went back to my fancy clothes.
If American air raids were designed to expedite the resolution of WW2 and hasten Japan’s surrender, and allegedly saved lives on both sides, these photos next to Toyo’s five-story building always remind me of the survival spirit, resilience, hard working ethics and magnanimous attitude of the Japanese… Today, the country boasts the “World’s second largest developed economy“. Not too sure what that exactly means, but it sounds pretty good. Sure is a remainder that, given the possibility, fast forwarding from bitter to better is a good idea. Some should try that in the Middle East.

Back to our jacket.
Before becoming a popular trend with Japan’s youth, from innocent fashion to ‘borderline’ xenophobic statements (see Yanki, and right-winger trucks blasting propaganda in the streets), these colorful ornate jackets were local-made souvenirs for Armed Forces personnel, a military habit probably inherited from the old naval tradition of customizing one’s gear (Liberty cuffs, painted sea bags…).
Japan, Korea, Germany, Vietnam, Philippines, Middle east, Panama… “Souvenir Jackets”, “Party Jackets”, “Cruise Jackets”, “Tour Jackets”… a little bit for everyone. Some liked the generic eagle-tiger-dragon off the rack, some custom-ordered more personal designs, some wore them while partying on liberty, some flew missions with them, some brought an irresistible kid size specimen home…

Genuine military tour jackets have played the role of flashy gang colors for bands of brothers. They have featured salty nicknames, testosterone-filled mottos, innuendos, personal creeds, specific branch pride, not-so-PC novelty patches, unit patches, dark cynical quotes in unexpected multi-colored flamboyant embroidery… Anything to cloak death under a devil-may-care veil, a requisite for men of the Armed Forces who give their life in combat so that you and I don’t have to.
Although not souvenirs but in the ‘customized military gear’ family, World War Two saw everything from sexy pin up strippers to bomb-toting Disney cartoon characters (corporately repudiated today) readily hand-painted on pilot flight jackets and fuselages. For years, authentic USAF type A-2 leather jackets featuring custom painted nose art, cockpit ‘party jackets’ if you will, have fetched top dollar. Against all odds, replicas of these have entered mainstream Japanese streetwear since the 1980’s, some jackets even featuring fictitious “Enola Gay” artwork.

In spite of being high-ticket collectibles as well, souvenir jackets from the Vietnam era tend to be lesser crowd-pleasers, with messages displayed usually conveying a more skeptical and cynical attitude towards the Kool-Aid, a sentiment well relayed by the many crudely engraved Zippo® lighters of the period.
The term “Party” applied to jackets/hats/suits refers to the fact that these often flamboyant garments were intended to be worn on R&R or around the mess hall rather than on operations in the boonies…
The Vietnam types were sometimes re-cut from uniforms, recycled out of quilted camo poncho liners, nylon parachutes, denim, silk kimonos… often mixing whatever fabric was available. Apart from the typical “When I die I’ll go to Heaven…” kind, party jackets of that period came in many shapes forms and colors.

Such war memorabilia is still sold to tourists in Vietnam today. The Dan Sinh Market, in Hoh Chi Minh City, is still filled with “authentic” replicas, such as gas masks, Special forces cloth patches, dog tags etc…, a man cave contributing to a small local artisan economy.

Sometime last year, we were honored to be approached for a collaboration with the “Tailor Toyo” label on a sukajan type jacket, to mark the 2015 fiftieth Anniversary of Toyo Enterprises. Wholly immersed at the time in R&D related to the Vietnam War, it was an obvious choice for me to blend that jacket in the current Mister Freedom® “Saigon Cowboy” mfsc collection. I could have safely gone with apparently neutral eagles and tigers, but opted otherwise.

If we are usually pretty subtle with MF® garments, preferring minimal branding and ornamentation, this ‘Party Jacket’ would be different. Being reversible would help convey human duality, yin & yangpile & face, good & evil, Jekyll & Hide, Cheech & Chong
I do believe Man is an adorable serial-killer panda. Now that’s a good T-shirt.
Our ‘Party Jacket’ would require an individual reflection. Doing research is admittedly a challenging concept for the keyboard cowboys of the sheeple community, but like the French say, “c’est comme l’auberge Espagnole, on y trouve ce qu’on y apporte”. This idiom, originally referring to the absence of catering in old Spanish inns, roughly translates to ‘you will only find there your own contribution’, or ‘what you get out of it depends on what you put into it’.

Are you taukin to me?

You talkin’ to me?

And for the few not yet asleep, here are more random historical clues…

Colonial policy is the daughter of industrial policy.
Jules Ferry, French Prime Minister, in 1905.

It had been a national hobby in old Europe to busy fleets and commanders with royal orders to sail the four corners of the Earth in quest of both riches and heathen souls to convert. Under divine blessing, wigged men in tights invited themselves on distant shores and competed for power, empires, spices, precious metals, trade goods, raw materials and cheap labor force. Spaniards, Dutch, Portuguese, Brits and French were at it since the 16th Century. Whoever the expansionist, the bottom-line message behind the mission civilisatrice of colonialism was simple: spread the gospel but bring home the bacon. Bacon, no pun, which could prove useful back home, to reverse seven centuries of Spain and Portugal Muslim occupation. Thousands of nautical miles away, in colonized hostile jungles, while the bon sauvage strived to find salvation in his newly embraced religion, missionaries would occasionally develop a strong disposition for trading wares… All was well.

If the seafaring merchants who originally dropped anchor in Viet Nam as early as 1516 were Portuguese, the French were the ones who ultimately dropped their suitcases in the 1850’s. Followed some hundred years of tumultuous imperialist presence in Indochina, France’s only beachhead in Asia. Colons got busy milking the jungle ‘white gold’ (latex from rubber trees), while France cashed in on its Opium Monopoly scheme (the French Governor built an opium refinery in Saigon in 1899, manufacturing a fast burning mixture that guaranteed both high consumption and hefty profits). Ultimately, the imposed system stirred enough Vietnamese national pride and resistance to get France kicked out in 1954, and the US to throw the towel in 1973.

Now that I’ve lost everyone, let’s bring in the Marquise de Pompadour, royal mistress of Louis XV, and a big Elvis fan, obviously. Louis XV, renowned womanizer and ruler of the French from 1715 to 1774, made decisions some claim lead to little events erupting a few years after his passing. Although truly successful in cultural achievements in the domain of the Arts, Louis XV’s mostly unpopular reign did contribute to his successor and grandson Louis XVI’s rendezvous with Louisette (the guillotine, not the dame), on a cold winter morning of 1793, Place de la Révolution in Paris.
He also is responsible for ceding France’s territorial claims in North America to England and Spain, the reason why I have to type all this in English, and why Céline Dion’s French sounds funny.

Who first pronounced the words “Après moi, le déluge“, today a quaint French expression which literally translates to ‘After me, the flood‘, is lost to History and Versailles’ corridors. It is attributed, however, to either Louis XV or La Pompadour. Its meaning is also largely open to interpretation and subtle nuances, from the irresponsible “I don’t care what happens after me” to the threatening “Watch what’s coming to you after I’m gone“. Most today use the expression with its “F*ck it” or carpe diem (seize the day) connotation, probably less relevant to the original intended meaning of egocentricity and self-importance. I personally understand it more in the 18th Century Hellfire Club motto sense: “Fais ce que tu voudras” (Do what thou wilt). But what do I know.

The pertinence of this “Après moi, le déluge” royal statement embroidered on our jacket is left to the reader’s own judgment. It could refer to some European attitudes during past colonial ventures (Patrice Lumumba would agree)… It also could refer to carpet bombing of ‘boxes’ in Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos, a scheme to demoralize the enemy, with impressive KBA (Killed By Air) scores.

…we’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.
General Curtis ‘old iron pants’ LeMay (Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force), pondering on the capability of America’s air power in 1965.

The air campaign concocted by American war strategists to bring communist North Vietnam into submission kept the USAF quite busy during the 1960’s and 70’s. The People of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos might not relate to such bucolic names as Farm Gate, Ranch Hand, Iron Hand, Arc Light, Rolling Thunder, Barrel Roll or Linebacker… but will remember the 7,662,000 tons of bombs dropped on them during the course of the war.
Difficult to grasp such figures for us lucky enough to not even know what an enemy detonation sounds like. I heard artillery while living in N’Djamena, Tchad, in the mid 70’s. But distant and muffled, and not incoming. I didn’t live in a tunnel either.
As a reference, South East Asia got three times the ordnance tonnage used during the Second World War and its wide spread theater of operation…

During the Vietnam conflict, using everything from B-52s high-altitude raids to Skyhawk strafing attacks, the Air Force was to drop “anything that flies, on anything that moves”, dixit National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, caught on tape relaying recent presidential instructions down the chain of command in 1969. Now if that’s not Realpolitik

Some bomb types were given colorful nicknames by ordnance personnel, such as snake eyes, pineapples, or the charming daisy cutters. At the Air base, an explosive case could receive a custom painted graffiti before the sortie, often a considerate nod to the enemy, in popular wartime humor fashion: “Preparation H”, “It’s not the gift but the thought behind it”, “Birth Control”…

To this day, in South East Asia, unearthed aluminum ‘vintage’ bomb shells are being recycled into everything from spoons to jewelry by local rural artisans. With 25% of its 10,000 villages still plagued by UXOs (Unexploded Ordnance), Laos holds the sinister record of the “Most Bombarded Country in the World”.
No other Nation has seemed envious enough to claim that title since 1973.

In French, the Reaper is a Lady, she’s always on time. “Vive La Mort” (literally ‘Long live Death’) is a reference to the 1965 French movie “La 317ème Section”, directed by Indochina War veteran Pierre Schoendoerffer. During a scene in the Cambodian jungle, Sergeant Willsdorff, a seasoned man o’ war portrayed by a convincing Bruno Crémer, lets out a hearty “Vive la Mort, Bon Dieu!”, a devil-may-care attitude acknowledging we are all ultimately doomed. For Willsdorff, death is an Art de Vivre (watch here around 08:50), or as Bruce Lee put it (in his 1971 “Long Street” character), “to learn to die is to be liberated from it (…) You must learn the art of dying“.
Sometimes attributed to the French Foreign Legion, the expression “Vive la Mort” is historically more likely the battle cry of soldiers of fortunes and mercenaries.
The cinephile will also note that in Apocalypse Now (Redux), Coppola pays respect to “La 317ème Section” by quoting the egg metaphor reference of the Viet Minh demonstrating their victory over the French at Diem Bien Phu: breaking an egg in his hand, the character boasts “the white runs out, the yellow stays.

Bruno Cremer 317eme Section

“Vive la Mort, Bon Dieu!”Bruno Cremer, 317eme Section (1965)

Pax is Peace, in latin. The original “Pax Romana expression refers to a 200 year-long state of relative Peace achieved by prosperous Rome with its empire, some two millenniums ago.
More relevant to our jacket and applied to the United States, the formula Pax Americana relates to US foreign policy post WW2. For some, that policy carries connotations of imperialism and neocolonialism, blatant or disguised. For others, it is an ideal balanced situation, with America at its center as the World’s Peace keeper, a role only the strongest Nation on Earth can achieve, guaranteed by fire power domination. During the Vietnam conflict, the formula was put in perspective.

Sorry About That” and “Be Nice” are references to popular quips amongst American soldiers during the Vietnam conflict.  These Americanisms were also used as the tittles of two illustrated paperbacks concocted by Ken Melvin in 1966-67. Both collectible vintage pamphlets pop-up on eBay from time to time, and even pass the Amazon PC Police. Additionally, a “Sorry ’bout That” arc red patch was a common feature on customized head gear and jungle shirts during the Vietnam conflict.
Along with the Nguyen Charlie comic strips published in Stars and Stripes from 1966 to 1974, featuring VC and GI caricatures competing for survival, this literature aimed at empathizing with and entertaining US troops in the field. They are a window into America’s not-so-distant past.

The hand-embroidered patch on the ‘relatively’ discreet denim side contrasts with the cluster of the jungle-hell camo and its apparent gung-ho statement. Surfing in wartime Vietnam has been addressed in a previous post while introducing the MF® Tiger Board Shorts.
Do note that, at the time of drawing the patch, i was not aware that a “China Beach Surf Club” actually existed. Again, who needs imagination with History at hand…

There it is.
Thanks for reading.

Peace,

CL

This “Party Jacket” matching our Saigon Cowboy Spring 2015 mfsc collection was designed in California by Mister Freedom® and crafted in Japan by Tailor Toyo and Sugar Cane Co, two branches of Toyo Enterprises, for the 50th Anniversary of the company.

SPECS:

FABRIC:
* Fully reversible garment.
Side A
: 10 Oz. indigo-dyed 2×1 denim, solid white ID selvedge. Milled in Japan.
Same fabric as our Utility Trousers and Jacket.
Side B:  100% cotton ERDL ‘lowland’ camouflage printed popeline, 4.75 Oz. Milled and printed in Japan.

DETAILS
* Inspired by US military Tour/Souvenir/Party jackets.
* Fully reversible.
* All original artwork on ERDL side rear panel.
* Original hand embroidered chest patch on gold tiger stripe background.
* Expert machine embroidery using traditional Japanese kimono-making techniques.
* Three patch pockets on each side.
* Covered 1950’s sukajan style reversible “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper.
* Very Limited Toyo Enterprises 50th Anniversary Edition.
* Made in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
The “Party Jacket” comes raw/unwashed and will shrink to tagged size.
We recommend an original cold soak, spin dry and line dry.
I usually wear a Medium (38) in mfsc jackets and am a comfortable Medium in this jacket, with room to layer.
Please refer to sizing chart for cold rinse/line dry approximate measurements.

Party Jacket

CARE:
Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
Due to the intricate embroidery, this jacket is relatively fragile and prone to snagging. Hand wash. Fully un-zip the jacket before washing. Cold water, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. Fraying of the patch edges is normal and to be expected.
Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.

Available RAW/unwashed
SIZES:
X-Small (34)
Small (36)
Medium (38)
Large (40)
X-Large (42)
XX-Large (44)

RETAIL $749.95

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.