On the second floor of New York’s 45 rpm, the Japanese shop known for its relaxed, fun (and expensive) natural fiber, indigo clothing, is the in-house tailor’s workstation. A roughhewn table carries a matte black sewing machine that is flanked by jars of color coded, sized buttons. 45 rpm sweaters and shirts, always marked by an “R” somewhere near an often contrasting selvedged hem, also sport a selection of buttons chosen with a seeming whimsy. I have a blue and white striped sweater hemmed in red with 5 white buttons of varying sizes. A white raw cotton shirt has twenty tiny white buttons with one, peeking out red, like a fish’s eye.
With two retail outlets in Manhattan and over 4o in Japan, 45 rpm is that rare chain store that maintains a boutique, “special find” aura. The attention to detail is stunning for a mass marketed inventory. Even if one’s purchases become more sporadic, the items themselves build into a wardrobe of ever more beautiful, well loved clothing.