Whilst out in Tokyo, we stopped by to see Rikiya Kanamaru at his Gold Gate store in Matsubara, Setagaya-ku to check out his huge Wrangler collection.
The store (or should I say denim Mecca) named Gold Gate is a homage not just to denim, and not just to vintage denim, but to the very specific category of Vintage Wrangler. Rikiya-San has been collecting Wrangler for most of his adult life and has amassed so many pieces that he actually owns more vintage Wrangler pieces than Wrangler themselves! So much in fact that he has become very close with the Japanese Wrangler design team, who often visit for information and inspiration from Rikiya and involve him in design meetings and consultations.
We spent some time with Rikaya during his special vintage show held at Gold Gate. He was showing a small portion of his extensive collection (but all the best bits) including his huge range of chain stitched Champion jackets, all of the best Peter Max items and even some archival kids ranges from the 1950s.
Rikaya is actually a bespoke store fitter and interior designer by profession. He designs interiors for many clients in Japan and has a prestigious client list including author of My Freedam!, Rin Tanaka. Rikaya travels to the famed Inspiration L.A. show every year and produces all the signage for Rin’s his show, connecting with Rin on his love of denim and vintage as well as great branding.
Our favorite Wrangler pieces are without a doubt the Peter Max collaboration items, above. Peter Max is a German-born Jewish American illustrator and graphic artist, known for his use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes as well as the infamous artwork he produced for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine in 1968. This 70’s Wrangler collaboration produced some amazing, high color denim shorts, jackets and flares incorporating print, pattern and psychedelic art all in amazing fabric-blocked designs. Each individual item sells for a huge amount so Rikaya’s above collection is exceptional.
The Hopalong Cassidy kid’s line was great. The pieces came about when Wrangler hired famed rodeo clothing designer Rodeo Ben to create the Wrangler “Cowboy Cut” jeans. He had made customized Western clothes for many of the famous cowboy film stars in the 30s and 40s including Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy. The kid’s garments from the Hopalong Cassidy range are extremely rare.
We sat down with Rikiya and asked him some questions:
How many Champion Jackets do you own/ have owned?
About 30 Jackets and I collaborated with the Wrangler Japan team to produce replica Champion jackets as you see in store too, but they are now sold out.
When did you start collecting Wrangler?
25 years ago.
What do you most like about Wrangler, as apposed to Levi’s or Lee for example?
To me they have great design & functionality and just appeal to me more than other brands.
Do you meet up with Wrangler US or Europe teams or just Japan?
I’ve met the teams from several countries but am mostly close with the Japanese team, they are visiting me today!
Go check out the store next time you’re in Tokyo: 1F 2-39-17 Matsubara, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. Zip: 156-0043