Many years ago, when it came to men’s shopping magazines, I used to purchase “Vitals Man” and “Cargo Magazine”.
These magazines were literally the goto magazines during the mid-2000’s that told men where to shop for a variety of products plus articles that appealed to different men… while “Vitals Man” was more on the high end and more mature, “Cargo Magazine” was for the men in their ’20s or ’30s. Sure, while there is the Internet, there was something about these magazines that were interesting and it was the forums that would bring men together to chime away on a variety of subjects and fashion topics.
Granted, the Internet was still popular, but this was before Facebook and Twitter became popular and everyone was still getting over Friendster and getting used to Myspace.
Times changed and “Vitals Man” would shut down in 2005 and “Cargo Magazine” in 2006.
My only momento of “Cargo Magazine” was man bag they gave away at one time.
But I personally liked the idea of swag and men’s shopping magazine and in Japan, there are several.
One of the more popular magazines is “Street Jack” magazine and the other is “smart” which I’m going to discuss on this blog.
While in America, I have no problem going up to someone to ask where they purchased their jeans or acknowledge their cool fashion, in Japan, people keep to themselves most of the time.
While I have gone up to Japanese to ask about their fashion, if a Japanese person likes someone’s shoes or backpack, they are not going to ask where they bought it, unless they are close friends with that person.
So, this is where magazines like “smart” and “Street Jack”” works out perfectly. Japan is a society where normal people on the street are featured in their magazine for their fashion sense and as I have seen many photographers standing on the street corner of Shibuya or Omotesando, waiting for someone to come along, so they can shoot their fashion, bags or shoes.
Both are very similar in the fact that they both cover celebrities and idols and they offer swag. Both offer very cool swag but as you can see from September’s issue, a BEAMS fanny pack and a bracelet or with October’s issue, a mini-item holder is included.
Of course, the swag are not the best quality but still, they are better as a free item for a Y780 ($7.00 magazine). The Beams fanny pack is well-made, but the belt is standard nylon, while the clips are cheap plastic. While the size of the fanny pack is good for those with a thin build (yes, Asian size…always remember that Japan sizes are typically one size lower) and the plastic to lock the bag belt in place is breakable plastic (yes, I snapped it off while putting it on myself).
“smart” magazine also comes with a mini-booklet inside…but there is one major thing that differentiates in content between “smart” magazine and “Street Jack”.
At the end of each “smart” issue is a model that is featured and the magazine showcases full-frontal nudity (I blackened the areas on the photo).
It’s quite interesting because you will see items being reviewed or showcased, then a showcase on a celebrity or idol and then a nude model.
Of course, nudity is not viewed the same in Japan as it is here in America and seeing things like nudity in a magazine, let alone walking by a store in Akihabara, you will often see nude to scantily clad figures or photos.
But which magazine is better?
Personally, I enjoy them both for content and showcasing style trends. They both offer awesome swag but I have to admit that the Beams fanny pack included with the September issue was a surprise because the fanny pack doesn’t seem cheaply made at all. But both magazines tend to offer Beams (a very popular Japanese clothing brand) swag which is cool.
And you can also easily purchase these magazines via Amazon Japan for cheap (as the dollar to yen is very good right now and shipping is not expensive).
So, if you are into magazines that showcase fashion trends, definitely give these magazines a try.