Nomads that we are, we've lived in dozens of neighborhoods over the years. So, when we first designed the Battenwear Neighbor Cardigan, we didn't have any particular neighborhood in mind. We were thinking more generally of the concept of neighborhoods and neighbors, and how a good, comfy cardigan contributes to a feeling of home in any given place.
One neighborhood that we have not (yet) had the pleasure of calling our own is Kamakura, Japan. You may have heard of it--it's known for ancient temples and refined tastes and a bitchin surf scene. We have a good friend living there, Manabu Toriyama, who runs a small neighborhood shop called Bird Mountain (his last name in English).
We're mentioning this because as soon as his delivery of SS22 goods arrived, Toriyama and his local customers gravitated to Battenwear's Neighbor Cardigan in a major way--like buy up all remaining stock in Japan kind of way.
We started to wonder, who are all these Kamakurans walking around in our Neighbor Cardigans? And what's that like anyhow, walking around as a local in Kamakura?
For us, cardigans are the perfect companion for the kind of strolling it takes to cement our familiarity of place. A neighborhood feels like home once we've started recognizing neighbors not just from seeing their faces as they walk toward us but from their backs when they're walking ahead. Once we've seen how a storm can totally change the look of the streets and the mood of the people . . . and how a holiday can do the same.
Hoping to explore Kamakura vicariously, we asked Toriyama to take some photos of his customers in their Neighbor Cardigans.
And what photos he sent! The subject is none other than the daily life of celebrated chef Kei Kojima as he visits favorite surf spots and neighborhood haunts in Kamakura.
Kojima is also a person of many neighborhoods, having lived and trained with restaurants in Italy and France. He now helms Michelin starred Ginza restaurant Beige Alain Ducasse - Tokyo, where he is known for incorporating Kamakura-sourced vegetables into haute cuisine, all set in a dizzying Chanel interior. It's elegant luxury with a backbone of local goodness.
What fun to get this glimpse --a chef in his neighborhood, searching for the best local ingredients to make dishes that originated around the world in other neighborhoods that he has called home.
And what a pleasure to know that the Neighbor Cardigan accompanies him on his trips around Kamakura.
Thanks to the man behind the lens, another Battenwear Neighbor Cardigan wearer, Tomosuke Imai. We were really excited to see your great work!
And big thanks to Kei Kojima for looking so good in the Neighbor Cardigan and for bringing such amazing, thoughtful food into the world!