Open Collar Shirt


Hirofumi Yamashita





Find out little-known yet interesting facts about clothing through the words of discerning designers who have been creating
essential masterpieces for BEAMS PLUS collections.
The crucial new philosophy of BEAMS PLUS,
“Updating timeless classics for the future,” cannot be achieved without their wealth of knowledge.


Hirofumi Yamashita (Designer of MOJITO)Yamashita was born in Kumamoto in 1968. After graduating from a fashion college, he worked for a fashion stylist before changing his job to a PR/buyer for Propeller, a now closed legendary concept store that is known for its contribution of introducing American casual clothing to Japan. In 2005, he turned a freelance consultant and worked with various clients, including an English long-established clothing brand, streetwear brands and some outdoor brands. His own apparel brand MOJITO was established in 2010. The brand name is derived from E. Hemingway’s favorite drink, paying homage to the great literary figure. Since then, Yamashita has been creating men’s clothes that can be used as “tools” through the brand.

an open collar shirt is necessary
for men’s wardrobe
as a casual garment that raises
an objection to more formal outfits.

“A shirt was originally designed as a long undershirt for men. So, it was extremely impolite not to tuck in a shirttail. On the other hand, an open collar shirt is made to wear with the shirttail out. The body therefore has to be straight down at the hem, while the collar is designed band-less as it is normally worn without a tie. Placket-less design is another characteristic feature of an open collar shirt. In my opinion, the trend was born from a backlash against traditional styles with a button-down shirt and tie, just like people who used to wear denim coverall jackets changed it to more casual denim jackets.”

“Open collar shirts are essential for MOJITO and we call them as the ‘Absinth shirt’ because the item is as addictive as the so alcoholic beverage that some countries had banned it. You will become an absolute fan of the shirt once you experience the comfort. As long as I’ve researched, Ernest Hemingway spent most of his time wearing his open collar shirt on bare skin after moving to Cuba in his later life. Having won the Nobel Prize in literature and experienced four marriages and divorces, he had money, fame, social status... everything. The author might think he no longer needed to dress properly as he became one of the symbols of the ideal male for American people. In that sense, an open collar shirt is necessary for men’s wardrobe as a casual garment that raises an objection to more formal outfits.”

“Despite his macho and wild appearance, he was really sensitive about what to wear. He was especially particular about the measurements. I believe almost all the shirts he owned were semi-bespoke with slightly longer lengths and a deeper neckline. The design may look a little weird for Japanese people, but the ‘Absinth shirt’ of MOJITO also feature the details. Our signature ‘MOJITO fit’ cannot be made without the design as well as a narrowed waistline.”

“When I launched my brand in 2010, smart button-down shirts were much more popular and we couldn’t find a factory to make our open collar shirts. Most of factories didn’t even listen to us carefully, saying ‘Making such open collar shirts will get you nowhere as you cannot place a big enough order with the item anyway.’ Only MAIDEN COMPAN, the sole Japanese distributor of INDIVIDUALIZED SHIRT, agreed to make the shirts with us, and that is why we could launch our American-made shirts in the end. We’ve been always grateful to their support at the time. Currently we use two Japanese factories to make shirts. One is good at ‘fluffily’ sewing thin, soft fabric that we use for our spring/summer pieces, while another has outstanding skills to sew thick textiles neatly for our autumn/winter collections. When comparing a series of shirts we’ve made so far, I found out that the sleeve plackets of the ones made in the U.S. are beautifully finished on the back. On the other hand, the Japanese-made shirts have interfacings from the top to middle of the cuffs. Each of those has its own strength and is great in its own way.”

“At an ordering reception at BEAMS+ (BEAMS PLUS) Harajuku store, we designed shirts in four different styles under the theme of ‘Uniform.’ One of those named ‘traditional’ was made with classic Tattersall plaid fabric that was often worn by Hemingway in his later years. For the ‘hunting’ style, we designed a shirt that looks like the writer’s favorite hunting jacket by combining different materials. The shirt we made for the ‘hobby’ style was inspired by a wooly plaid shirt he used to wear in the Sun Valley Lodge where he always stayed for hunting.”

“The name open collar shit describes only the shape of the collar. Our ‘Absinth shirt’ is, of course, neither a Hawaiian shirt nor a safari shirt. It is also not a mere reproduction of a vintage piece, but a piece of clothes in which I embodied my thoughts and feelings I’ve had for Hemingway, a literary giant I have been admiring for about 20 years.”