The recent success of brands like Kapital, UNDERCOVER, and sacai should come as no surprise to anyone that's been paying attention to men's style. Japanese fashion has been at the forefront of creativity and craftsmanship since thinkers like Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo first came on the scene decades ago and broke boundaries with their avant-garde ideas.
Nonetheless, it's taken the likes of celebrity influencers that have access to the world's best garments to spread the gospel on visual social media platforms like Instagram. It's nearly impossible now to scroll through your explore feed without seeing a yellow smiley face sewn in to the elbows of a gorgeous denim jacket or a pair of Nikes with two sets of soles, swooshes and tongues.
As Japanese fashion experiences this kind of rediscovery on a global level, people in all corners of the world are hungry for more.
And Portland is no exception.
Home to one of the world's biggest and most influential brands, Nike, as well as the North American headquarters for adidas, it's only natural that the city would become home to its own Japanese menswear mecca. The only question was when. Enter nakamuraya.
Launched in 2019, nakamuraya is a multi-brand men’s clothing store bringing sought-after Japanese streetwear brands and lifestyle goods from Japan to the United States. Founded by Mitsuyuki Nakamura, the store features products curated on the principle of cultural background, brand identity, core authenticity and quality, as opposed to stocking its shelves full of fleeting fashion trends.
Alongside familiar brands like Bedwin & The Heartbreakers and UNDERCOVER sit labels hardly ever mentioned in the West such as PHIGVEL MAKERS Co and Sandinista MFG. The store's concept really comes through though when viewing these brands and their products in their totality.
Hyped pieces like UNDERCOVER's "Clockwork Orange" Puffer perfectly complement German-made writing instruments and made-in-Japan tenugui you didn't know you needed but now can't live without.
To learn more about the inspired choices behind nakamuraya, we spoke to the store's founder, Mitsuyuki Nakamura. Read our interview below and visit the online shop here. Scroll past the interview for the physical store's address and opening hours.
LA and NY are the cities most people think of when they think of fashion scenes in the U.S. What made you decide to open a store in Portland?
I agree that NY and LA are the most fashion-conscious cities in the U.S. and there are several stores and brands. We opened our store in Portland because we moved from Tokyo four years ago and have already been living here. And I thought it would be interesting to have some range in the men’s fashion scene since Portland has a lot of people working in the creative industry who are interested in street fashion and the surrounding culture.
What's something about Portland's fashion scene people not familiar with the city might not know?
Portland is home to many leather goods brands — Langlitz Leather, Wesco, Danner, Tanner Goods — an important part of the city's fashion history.
Did you think about big sportswear brands, like Nike and adidas, being based in Portland before opening the store?
Portland has several sportswear companies and creative agencies, and the people who work there have a keen eye for fashion and trends. I feel very honored that they find nakamuraya interesting.
What brands did you want to bring to the store and why?
The reason is very simple: they are the brands I like. Most of the brands were my client for several years in Japan and I was always impressed by their passion and proactive attitude for their creation. I want to introduce these Japanese brands to people in the U.S. through nakamuraya. We also carry selected new and vintage military items at the store. Military garments have been inspiring streetwear and luxury fashion brands for decades and I think they are built with the ultimate beautility.
Is there an interest in Japanese brands in Portland?
We do feel that Portland in particular has a strong connection with Japan, and the city/people are somewhat similar. Japan creates some of the most high-quality products in the world and Japanese craftsmanship has always attracted attention from overseas.
nakamuraya carries lots of lifestyle/home products. Was it important to you to carry more than just clothing and accessories?
It can’t be just any kind of trendy products, clothes or shoes. We want to curate a lifestyle that inspires you and make you feel good when using/wearing it in your daily life.
What can we expect from nakamuraya in the future?
We will continue to collaborate with artists from Japan for projects and exhibitions to grow the creative community through design.
nakamuraya 209 SW 9th Ave Portland, OR 97205
Store Hours Tuesday - Saturday: 11am - 6pm Sunday: 12pm - 5pm Monday: Closed