[DEEP DIVE] NB JACKET
Welcome back to "DEEP DIVE". In this series go behind the scenes to trace the genesis of our favorite Engineered Garments items. In this installation, we took out our magnifying glass to take a closer look at the NB Jacket, the Bedford Jacket’s slightly dressier cousin.
As a twenty-something fashion school graduate Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki worked at an American import goods store in Tokyo, cautiously cultivating far-flung dreams of working overseas as a buyer, and perhaps one day to design products of his own.
Moving to Boston, Massachusetts in 1989 as the dedicated overseas buyer for the first Nepenthes select shop, he stepped directly into the pages of the magazines he devoured in Japan. From the hand-sewn patchwork tweeds of Phillips Academy’s tony Andover Shop to the crisp J. Press blazers hung on the racks of Louis Boston (now Drinkwater’s). His experience here indelibly changed him, further nurturing his deep love for American Traditional style. Specifically he became fixated on creating a blazer that combined elements of dress and workwear. This idea gnawed at him for decades, until he started a brand of his own.
The original Bedford design came from a late 19th century barber’s chore jacket. It’s easy to imagine a pair of clippers and a comb shoved into the jacket’s four pockets. Daiki tinkered around with the design, exchanging the notch lapel for a peak lapel - surprising himself with how well this typically dressy collar fit onto this casual silhouette. As a nod to his time spent in Boston, he named the jacket after Bedford Street, a tranquil lane set a few blocks back from Boston Common.
The Bedford Jacket was an instant hit, quickly assuming its identity as Engineered Garments’ signature blazer. Daiki continued to play with the jacket, removing a collar tab (the adjoining button was fixed to the front of the jacket, so he replaced it with the current elastic loop), and even took off the side and center seam (this only lasted one season, as the large cuts prohibitively degraded the fabric yield). Realizing that one jacket wasn’t enough to hold all of his ideas, he decided to split it in two.
Daiki decided to draw a line by formality, with the Bedford retaining the workwear elements, and the NB facilitating holding onto more dressy qualities. The NB Jacket’s name is a sly reference, not only to Boston’s New Bedford Street, but can also be taken literally - in a sense the NB Jacket is the New Bedford Jacket.
After making this division, Daiki exaggerated the jackets’ respective features. Daiki opened up the cuffs on the NB Jacket, giving it a proper sport coat appearance. The back of the jacket was changed to feature two side seams on the back, replacing the center seam which was wide and boxy and also tends to pucker. Gone are the heavy duty reinforcement stitching across the front and shoulders, replaced by the comparatively delicate stitching inserted to tamp down the front facing and along the shoulder seams.
The Engineered Garments NB Jacket is one of the items Daiki had the most fun making, filling the jacket with delicate touches and bits of sewing magic. Even something as minimal as replacing the ringlet buttons with sewn buttons provided him with a deep sense of joy. On its surface it may seem like a simply crafted jacket, but the waters of the NB Jacket run deep. Daiki insists that his details are not inserted to show off, but rather for his personal satisfaction. It is precisely this selfless passion for workmanship and artistry that makes this jacket so special.
The NB Jacket is available in the following fabrics:
- Dark Navy Tropical Poly Wool
- Grey Sharkskin Wool
- Multi Color Poly Acetate Lurex Jacquard
- Natural Gold CP Ethnic Jacquard
- Navy Grey Nyco Horizontal Stripe
- Navy Seersucker Stripe
Available for purchase in-store and online at nepenthesny.com.