It takes a lot of guts to open a new men’s store nowadays. With fast trends, copycat competitors, and the ease of online comparison shopping, it’s just harder and harder to build customer loyalty. When I spoke to George Wang about this last year, on the eve of him opening BRIO in Beijing, he said he hoped his taste would help set him apart. And it’s true – many of the best boutiques are a cut above thanks to the owner’s high-level of taste. See the late Wilkes Bashford, Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop, and Mark Cho and Alan See of The Armoury.
This month, a man who has been inspiring others for years will be opening his own shop. Ethan Newton – who has worked everywhere from Evisu to The Armoury to Ralph Lauren – will be opening Bryceland’s in Japan with his business partner Kenji Cheung. The store’s name is taken from Ethan’s family. “Bryceland is my mother’s maiden name,” Ethan told me. “There aren’t any more males on that side of the family to carry it forward, so I decided to honor it by using it for my business.”
When I talked to Ethan about his shop back in October, he described it as Ivy, although he meant it more in approach than aesthetics. “When I first started studying tailoring, I realized there are certain products that are just perfect in design – whether it’s a Zippo lighter or a blue blazer or a Buco J-24 jacket. Basically things that are made right and don’t need to improved on, they are as they should be. I think a lot of Ivy stuff embodies that – the perfect grey flannel suit, the perfect tweed jacket. I want a business that revolves around that spirit.”
What you’ll find at Bryceland’s isn’t necessarily the same as what you’ll find at J. Press (sans maybe striped rep ties, which Ethan finds perfect), but they’re close cousins. Instead, the shop will have the sort of soft Italian tailoring and rugged American workwear that Ethan has championed for years.
See, for example, the made-to-measure suits and sport coats he’s bringing in from Naples. Jackets will be a bit fuller in the chest and longer in length than what’s popular today. It’s a style Ethan describes as soft, lush, and old-school. “I love Italian tailoring from the period of the 1940s and ‘50s,” he says. “Before things got to be about over-preening.” Tailored shirts will also be coming in from Hong Kong; handmade ties from Kenji Kaga’s SevenFold (some of which are pictured below). Additionally, there will be some things from Anglofilo, a small tailoring shop run by an Italian-trained Japanese tailor (an example of an Anglofilo jacket is pictured above).
Perhaps no surprise to anyone who knows Ethan, but dress shoes will be coming from Saint Crispin’s, a company owned by one of Ethan’s good friends, Phillip Car. Some of Bryceland’s shoes will be made on a special last created just for the shop. It’s a chisel toe that Ethan helped design – a little narrower and longer than Saint Crispin’s current chisel toe, but not as much as the company’s Screwdriver.
For casualwear, you can expect jeans, chambray shirts, and leather jackets (some of which are being made in collaboration with The Real McCoys). Like with the tailoring, the aim here is to provide exquisitely well-made pieces that are a bit vintage in spirit. The jeans above, for example, are modeled after 1947 501s and produced by Conners Sewing Factory (a Japanese label owned by a vintage Levis enthusiast). The belt is made by Japan’s Ace Western, who specializes these sort of old Western styles. This particular model was inspired by a vintage piece Ethan bought a few years ago. “It’s completely made by hand with vintage studs and jewels,” Ethan says.
Bryceland’s will also have unique one-off items: old militaria, vintage jewelry, beat-up hunting wear, and the sort of things you might find in a 1930s or ‘40s mail order catalog. Some of the items will come from Ethan’s trips around the world; others will be coming from vintage dealers.
Given Ethan’s extensive experience in the men’s clothing business – from conducting fittings to designing ready-to-wear to helping build a men’s shop from the ground-up – Bryceland’s will have a better foundation than most. Perhaps more important than anything, the selection of items will be driven by Ethan and Kenji’s exquisite taste. Much of the company will be focused on walk-in customers, but Ethan tells me there will eventually be a small webshop for people abroad. Whether you’re in or outside of Tokyo, be prepared to fall in love with your new favorite men’s store in 2016.
For those in New York City, Bryceland’s will be holding a trunk show this month with Sartoria Dalcuore and Villa Del Corea. The event is happening from February 24th to the 27th at 110 East 71st Street (Unit 3). You can make an appointment by emailing Ethan at email@example.com.