Okinawa Tailor Shop

The TSPTR x Dawson Denim Fall Winter 21 capsule channels the tailor shop tradition of Okinawa during the Vietnam War. We’ve assembled a collection of period correct Vietnam War era garments and reinvented them in traditional Japanese fabrics, turning the classic 3 pocket USSF Advisor shirt into a casual Aloha style, repurposing Jungle combat pants into vacation wear and revising the archetypal 60s Ivy League blazer into an unstructured jacket.

During the Vietnam War, each soldier qualified for one week of R&R (rest and relaxation) at an approved destination outside of Vietnam.  Those places available were Japan, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Australia, Hawaii, Taiwan, and Singapore.  Military personnel had to be in Vietnam for at least six months before they could even add their name to the list.  The timing for this “vacation” depended upon how many names were on the list for that destination when you considered adding yours – there were only so many allocations available every week.  A long list could mean waiting a few months. The Army paid for the transportation and hotel, providing it was on the “approved” list. Reasons and choices for these destinations were many, but as a rule, those wanting cameras, electronics or quality hand made clothing went to Japan or Hong Kong. Hawaii attracted the married soldiers and engaged couples, who rendezvoused during that week. 

Okinawa in Japan was a popular destination where numerous local tailors near the US air bases specialised in making custom garments and 'party suits'. These were usually worn while on R and R and on-base only for special social occasions in lieu of official dress uniforms, which were not commonly used in Southeast Asia. The most significant social occasion was the famous "Sawadee" party. Named for the Thai language greeting appropriate for both "hello" and "good-bye," this party welcomed newly arrived personnel and bid good-bye to those returning home. The party suit tradition, although superficially humorous, served an important role in Air Force organizations by promoting unit integrity and maintaining an esprit de corps under the most difficult combat circumstances, while being highly valued by those who served in Southeast Asia.
A percentage of each sale from this collection will go to the only specialist charity for children affected by war.

With thanks to

Kenny McCracken
Russ Gator
Leon Cerrone


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