Jean-Philippe Robert, CEO of Quartz Co. in Montreal, is used to visiting Japan. We at Altitude Sports followed him during his latest trip to discover his favourite hidden gems in Tokyo.
On a late autumn day the two of us set out wandering Tokyo, I with my camera, both of us wearing our JS X Quartz Co. Champlain Japanese Edition parkas – the result of a collaboration between our friends at Quartz Co. and Japan’s Journal Standard, exclusively available in Canada from Altitude Sports. Journal Standard is one of Japan’s leading purveyors of fine clothes, with 25 locations in the country. We at Altitude wanted to know more about what makes this pairing tick.
I wanted to discover more about the collaboration’s influences: simplicity of construction and fine functionality of details that create a look I’d heard you can find in Tokyo’s everyday life. I felt a relaxed comfort as we went looking for this everyday beauty Japan is known for.
A brisk wind didn’t deter the locals from their morning routine at the local fishmonger, where people stocked up on fresh supplies amid the smell of saltwater and noise of friendly banter.
We entered a local furniture store littered with odds and ends. In the small window, an orchid overlooked the residential street and I thought of how beauty manages to carve out its niche in Tokyo’s confined spaces.
Rounding the corner, we walked into a tiny lunch bar. A woman read in the sunlit window, and I took the time to appreciate the splash of yellow she added against the rich wood furnishings. Surprising details that inform the Quartz Co. and JS collaboration as well.
Being a reader, I couldn’t resist asking Jean-Philippe to browse a hidden bookstore wedged between buildings. The precise architecture and oversized photo books gave a calming atmosphere, like a professional confident in their craft. Against all odds, Tokyo is full of reassuringly calm nooks that welcome you in like this one.
Our day then passed through Yoyogi Park, one of the surprising sprawling green spaces in the heart of this mega city. Noticing the subtly-logical layout of the park, and the way residents dress in an unabashedly individual style without making a big show, I could see how that fit the aesthetic Quartz Co. was looking for and found with Journal Standard.
We luckily spotted Little Nap just when coffee became a priority. Everything about the place hummed style, from Hario kettles to the modern-meets-traditional architecture. Even the barista’s clothing had an aesthetic that’s as avant-garde contemporary as it is comfortably timeless.
For a day meandering the streets of Tokyo, I didn’t feel a stitch out of place in my Champlain parka. Through the lens of the city, the collaboration revealed its secrets: simplicity in uncluttered form; necessity and the fashionable joined by comfort; finer details in subtle spaces. I never felt too hot and experienced a comfortable ease of movement, allowing me to completely forget about the frozen wind tumbling down Tokyo’s streets.
The sun dropped, the temperatures dipped, and thousands of Tokyo’s night lights flickered to life. This city reinvents itself every evening, transitioning from the day’s no-nonsense bustle mixed with spaces of calm reflection to the night’s attention-grabbing splashes of colour and quietly snug drinking spots. Tokyo is a meshing of subtle details and refined elements, like my JS X Quartz Co. Champlain Japanese Edition parka. The collaboration and the influences made more sense after the day, and I was as happy for understanding as I was wearing the parka.