Satoshi Suzuki





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.


Satoshi Suzuki (Representative of LOOPWHEELER)Suzuki was born in Shizuoka in 1959 and became a big fan of comfortable loopwheel sweatshirts as a little boy. After working for a textile trading firm, he established his own business of OEM jersey shirt manufacturing. While running the business, he launched LOOPWHEELER in 1999 to keep up and pass down his much-loved loopwheel manufacturing that was struggling to survive at that time. As the leading figure of the loopwheel sweatshirt boom in Japan, he has collaborated with prestigious apparel labels along with a number of brands belonging to other types of industries such as NIKE, BE@RBRICK and STUDIO GHIBLI.

After a century since
the original sweatshirt was invented,
the garment is now moving
on to the next phase at last.

It was the latest performance fabric
featuring every possible function.

“As long as I know, nobody has ever found out when, where and who invented a sweatshirt. But a record shows that the U.S. national team wore heather gray sweatsuits at the 1924 Paris Olympics. From the fact, we can trace that the garment began to be developed around the end of the 1910s, and some top athletes started to wear it from around the beginning of the 1920s. It was one of the latest sportswear of the time with a heat-retaining, swear absorbent and washable properties. Overcoming the demerits of a flat knitting sweater that was used for athletic activities before then, sweat fabric became an ideal performance material of the time.”

I don’t know who said that first,
but you cannot stop all sweat
with a gusset (laughs).

“The function of sweatshirts hasn’t improved that much for about 100 years although some small refinements have been made. For example, the sleeve design was changed from set-in sleeves to raglan sleeves to increase range of motion in arms. The improvement also made the garment wearable for people in various body shapes, and helped achieve higher production efficiency. Another often-mentioned detail is a V-shaped gusset around the neck. In Japan, it’s sometimes called ‘a sweat stopper’ and highly valued among vintage clothing fans, but you cannot stop all sweat with such a tiny piece of cloth (laughs). I think the triangle ribbed gusset was originally designed to add extra stretchiness around the neck because early sweatshirts were not as stretching as the modern ones.”

“The earliest sweatshirts have the v-gusset both on the front and back. In the 1950s, the detail came to be designed only on the front. In fact, the sweatshirts made around that time featured elastic enough ribs because of the improvement of knitting machines, and the triangle gussets were actually no longer needed. But the piece of cloth became one of the essential design details of a sweatshirt as it took on a role as the iconic feature of the garment by then as sweaters and other types of shirts didn’t have it. In my opinion, that is why the later sweatshirts have just one gusset on the front. The v-shaped detail gradually disappeared after the 1960s and I think that’s because it might get in the way of fabric printing. Currently, there are some sweatshirts with a v-gusset on the front, even though those are not made as vintage reproductions. The fact shows that people now re-recognize it as the signature detail of a sweatshirt, I think.”

“The most important feature of a sweatshirt is, after all, its fabric. It was originally made with loopwheel knitting machines in a gentle pace without putting excess load on the thread. The fluffy soft fabric feels incredibly comfortable, while the texture improves with use. However, those machines became outdated with low productivity. Each machine can weave only 1 meter per hour. Therefore, high-speed sinker circular knitting machines became the mainstream of sweatshirt manufacturing right after its invention in the mid 1960s because it was more ideal for mass production. But the texture of the fabric is so different.”

The fundamental design
hasn’t been changed
the small improvements.
We are
trying to help improve it right now.

“As the name suggests, LOOPWHEELER is a brand that sticks to sweatshirt production with loopwheel machines. Though the idea won’t be changed forever, we’ve been researching to find ways to utilize the amazing old-school machines more besides producing classic sweatshirts. As I mentioned before, the fundamental structure of a sweatshirt hasn’t been changed over time despite a series of small improvements in the details and machines. It is now moving on to the next phase at last, and we are trying to help improve it, so to speak.”

It can be described as an innovative
new standard
that bridges
tradition and modernity.

“BEAMS+ (BEAMS PLUS) has carried our products since 2006. For our first collaboration, we made an exclusive fabric, ‘LW Middle,’ and it has been loved by customers for over a decade. We then launched another specially made fabric called ‘LW Extra Light Plus’ in the summer of last year. It is thin enough to wear during warmer seasons, so upper clothes made with the fabric can be layered under any outerwear. In spring, summer and fall, you can wear it as an outer piece. It also helps you protect yourself from air conditioning during mid-summer days, while keeping you warm under a coat in the coldest season. The item easily fits into your look regardless of season. Because I’ve never seen vintage sweatshirt made with such thin fabric, we may be able to call the idea of all-year round sweatshirts one of the improvement. BEAMS+ has always introduced innovative clothes that fit into the modern wardrobe, while putting a great value on the heritage of clothing. Our admirable sweat fabric that can be one of the new standards coincides perfectly with the philosophy.”

Item Info.

Size : S , M , L , XL / Price : ¥13,500(+tax)CardiganColor : HEATHER GREY , DARK NAVY /
Size : S , M , L , XL / Price : ¥17,000(+tax)
Short Sleeve Sweatshirt
Size : S , M , L , XL / Price : ¥12,000(+tax)

Shop Info.

The products shown in this article are
available at BEAMS PLUS stores.