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Lost in Translation: Finding Comfort and History in Steteco.

My love affair with Japan began more than two decades ago, a whirlwind of neon lights, sake bars, and sights that seemed straight out of an anime. Tokyo, in particular, was a labyrinth of wonder, overwhelming at first, but revealing its secrets with each visit.


While the initial draw was the outrageous fashion of designers like Jun Takahashi and Kapital, a deeper appreciation for Japanese culture blossomed. This included a newfound respect for the everyday garments, meticulously crafted and often with a subtle twist. Finding clothes that fit, however, remained a constant challenge in a land seemingly built for a different stature.


Enter Steteco.


The name itself, evocative of 19th-century Japan and the loose shorts worn under kimonos, initially flew past me in department stores. It wasn't until a friend, a self-proclaimed Steteco convert, nudged me in their direction that I finally paid attention. A Christmas gift of a Steteco set – shorts and shirt – was a revelation.


The simple cotton-crepe pieces were impossibly comfortable, the fabric cool against my skin. It was a revelation, a marriage of traditional Japanese craftsmanship and contemporary design, all with an unwavering focus on comfort and longevity.


Sitting here at a cafe, the airy Steteco lounge shorts billowing gently around my legs, is a testament to their unique appeal.But Steteco's magic goes beyond first impressions.


A closer look reveals a meticulous attention to detail, from the weaving and sewing to the thoughtful design. One need only look at their playful pant names, inspired by the hindquarters of a flying squirrel, to appreciate the brand's sense of humor.


Given Japan's notoriously humid summers, breathability is a cornerstone of Steteco's philosophy. Their signature pants utilize chijimi, a meshed cotton textile used since the Edo period. This soft, elastic fabric offers a delightful combination of comfort and moisture absorption – a lifesaver in the sweltering Tokyo heat.


Steteco's nudge in my sartorial journey is a reminder to never judge a book (or a pair of shorts) by its cover. Thanks to a friend's gentle nudge, I ventured beyond the flashy displays of Isetan Shinjuku and discovered a world of comfort and history, all wrapped up in a pair of unassuming shorts.


In a land known for pushing fashion boundaries, Steteco offers a quiet revolution – a return to comfort and quality, steeped in rich tradition. And that, is a beautiful thing.


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Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Steteco.

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