Baracuta’s Daiki Suzuki Is The Godfather of Outerwear

Outerwear has always been about its function; keeping us warm, dry, and our slick fits sheltered from the ever-changing elements. Heralding a newfound common-sense approach to dressing where sustainability, functionality and utility come above all else, jackets and coats are now of high-priority on our to-buy wishlists. But, that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice style for substance. 

Enter Baracuta: few brands have achieved such a synonymous relationship with a garment as Baracuta has with the G9 Harrington Jacket. A genderless golf-style number, with distinctively ribbed hems and cuffs, a Fraser Tartan lining and an umbrella yoke on the back, the G9 has been a pillar of the brand since its inception in Manchester circa 1937. “Baractua’s place is as experts of outerwear,” says Daiki Suzuki, Baracuta’s creative director and Engineered Garments founder. He compares its authority to twin-heritage labels like “Burberry or Aquascutum”, declaring that the Miller brothers who designed the original G9, created a “masterpiece”. He says, “It’s a sportswear piece so it’s designed for casual wear, but it has a very elegant feel at the same time.”

A year on since he started at Baracuta, Suzuki is injecting new energy into the brand, merging his Japanese-American heritage with Baracuta’s British roots. In his deft hand, the historic label has sculpted out a lucid take on workwear and menswear essentials inspired by his transnational upbringing, bringing forth everything from traditional suiting to military-inspired outerwear, and elevating Baracuta’s essential design language described by Suzuki as “classic and simple”.

Baracuta SS23

Born in 1962 in Hirosaki City, Japan, Suzuki sought inspiration in Americana, instilled by the Old Hollywood films, TV show reruns and ‘70’s magazines he grew up obsessing over, as well as the great outdoors. After studying clothing design and pattern making at a university in Saitama Prefecture, he worked for a few different shops including Beams and Redwood (which he ran for five years), before moving stateside to work with close friend Keizo Shimizu at his store Nephentes as a buyer in 1988. It’s these formative years that established the initial building blocks of his own line, Engineered Garments which launched in 1999 as a branch of the Nephentes family – even showing at Pitti Uomo the following year. From there, Suzuki would channel his love of all things Americana into masterful workwear, outerwear, military garb, tailoring and sportswear. In 2006 he was appointed creative director at Woolrich Woolen Mills, simultaneously maintaining his role at Engineered Garments, where his work saw him awarded the GQ/CFDA Best New Menswear Designers in America Award in 2008.

Baracuta’s latest standalone collection, Four Climes, signals a cultural amalgamation of the UK, the USA and Japan in every thread of its six pieces. Named for Baracuta’s short-lived American market trading name in the 50’s, it includes three jackets, two parkas and one pair of Cloth Brighton Trousers inspired by US clothing classics, each developed with Suzuki’s meticulous attention to fine details.

With textiles playing an integral part in the brand’s culture-fusing MO, the designer used Baracuta’s signature water repellent tartan cloth (Baracuta Cloth), iridescent-effect Solaro, denim and cotton with a maxi tartan print throughout. (Baracuta Cloth is made in the UK by British artisans while other materials are acquired from reliable local milliners and sources such as English Wool). Suzuki explains that for Four Climes in particular he selected textiles and materials based on “ones from the 50’s through the 70’s”, the goal of the range being to create a new standard jacket like the G9 using authentic British style mixed with the flavour of American sportswear design and detailing. “My vision is to create the next masterpiece G9 jacket for Baracuta,” Suzuki says. 

Photography by Kizen for Baracuta Four Climes campaign featuring Nico, Kai, and Kio de Torres of Gliiico

Baracuta’s most recent collaboration, on the other hand, revisits what’s arguably its most gripping link-up to date; a G9 redesign with Junya Watanabe. Following last year’s debut, the pair returned just last week with the promise of a true collectors item, revamping the G9 with a bold, orange hood finished with white drawstrings, an oversized silhouette and Baracuta’s iconic Fraser tartan lining. With an all-over navy body, a contrasting white zip and an orange windbreaker flap, the essential two button dog ear collar – usually a must-have on any G9 – has been replaced to make way for the innovative orange hood. Despite the modifications, its umbrella back yoke, raglan sleeves, slanted pockets, internal pocket, ribbed cuffs and waistband, and lining, remain thrilling and seductive in their simplicity. 

Suzuki’s indelible Baracuta designs have captivated a cult following, perhaps because of their inherent quality and visceral fabrications, where deep textures, audacious colours and a narrative of true cultural fusion have the upper hand. Whether you’re a stay-at-home-dad, a fashion lad, or a big business exec, Baracuta clothing is designed to brave the elements whatever way you wear it, especially when made with Junya Watanabe’s subversive input and Suzuki’s undeniable know-how. Bringing functional technological research into his diversified, high-end designs, Suzuki’s work is a love letter to the unmatched excellence of Baracuta.

Junya Watanabe x Baracuta

Photography courtesy of Baracuta.

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