Souvenir Jacket, or the Asian Jewel of Vintage

You have probably seen them among the more Indie celebrities, in catwalks and photos by Influencers. Well, maybe it is now time for you to be the one who wears the hottest vintage trend of the moment: the Souvenir Jacket, or as we call it in our stores, the Okinawa Jacket. This jacket, which has changed in style throughout the years, is based on something very distinctive: embroidery of one or several Japanese-inspired designs.

The history of the Souvenir Jacket is more than interesting. This jacket was originally created by United States soldiers.

The young men who had been fighting during World War II started hand-knitting the traditional Japanese designs in the back of their jackets to commemorate their time in Japan. This all happened during the post-war occupation in Japan.The troops would take this jacket home, hence the name of the garment.

Since then, Okinawa Jackets have appeared in movies, advertisements, video clips and catwalks countless times, maintaining their original spirit. In other words, a symbolic representation of rebellion.

The popular design of the Souvenir Jackets include Japanese and Chinese-style dragons, as well as cherry blossoms or trees. Other soldiers were inspired by local works of art, such as traditional maps or geishas. 

However, by the mid-20th century, western people were not completely clear on the difference between the Chinese and the Japanese culture, which is why Okinawa Jackets would mix tigers, geishas, almond trees, birds-of-paradise and other elements associated with Asia with American icons, such as eagles.

In regard to materials, these jackets usually include rayon and silk, in addition to the embroidery. Their cut, precisely due to their history and origin, looks like a classic American baseball jacket with contrasting sleeves.
Lastly, this style was adopted by the working-class youth, and became a symbol of rebellion in post-ware Japan.



At Flamingos we have the original jackets that mix American with Asian elements, very different styles and textures, as well as other Souvenir jackets that were brought to America.
Souvenir jackets are a symbol of counterculture - Mick Jagger used them for many years - and a true icon of the movie ''Drive,'' starring Ryan Gosling. So why not wear it yourself?