Though founded in 1999, to get the full low down on Japanese clothing brand Beams Plus, it’s necessary to go a little further back to the year 1976. Where a shop designed to look exactly like a UCLA student’s dorm room and situated in Tokyo’s Harajuku district marked the very beginning of the Beams empire. Originally called ‘American Life Shop Beams’ this conceptual store brought the American dream to Japan in the form of their own varsity style sportswear and home furnishings alongside quirkier products such as mouse traps and roller skates. Capitalising on Japan’s obsession with Americana and the Ivy league look, Beams also acquired the magazine Popeye who shared their love for all things USA. Capturing the zeitgeist and shortening their name to ‘Beams’ the brand went from strength, opening shops all over Japan as well as expanding their range of products to a variety of different divisions. These included an artwork store called International Gallery, the Beams Boy label that creates classic menswear staples but designed for women, premium quality basics via Lapis Beams as well as the Beams Records label and the Modern Living furniture shop. Whilst in 1989 a number of key members left Beams to set up United Arrows, which is now Beam’s biggest rival in Japan, though Beams employee Nigo left a little later on to start up his own brand Bape.
Though perhaps the most popular and successful member of the Beams family was born just before the millennium and christened Beams Plus. Arriving in a fashion landscape dominated by streetwear and technical fabrics, Beams Plus went against the grain and took America’s golden years between 1945 to 1965 as its design inspiration. Neatly dividing their designs into four distinct categories of sportswear, military, workwear and traditional (or Ivy League) the Beams Plus look opted for an enduring, albeit playful style rather than jumping on trends. Though ironically enough, this return to the classics created a global trend itself, with many stores and designers around the world adopting this modern Japanese take on American heritage style. Buoyed by this success the Beams Plus designers have expanded their influences into classic twentieth century apparel from the likes of Italy, France and England as well as their beloved America. Whilst also collaborating with some of the iconic brands in the world such as Nike, Arc’teryx, Levi’s and Champion to name just a few.
By reinventing classic pieces through their tasteful use of colours, premium materials and attention to detail the Beams Plus label remains at the top of their game when it comes to creating modern classics. Which is why our latest drop from Beams Plus features Ivy League favourites such as Oxford and Madras check shirts alongside striped pocket tees, pleated twill pants, sweat shorts and outdoor socks.