So Mercedes and I made a little weekend trip to Amsterdam last week. It was a chance to get her over to Europe for the first time before she gets really deep into the pregnancy. While in Amsterdam, we did a 1-day side trip that took us to The Hague and Rotterdam. While in Rotterdam, we made a pit stop at a shopping center, and in my looking around, I spotted a men’s clothing store that had all kinds of Southpole gear. A part of me almost had a meltdown at the sighting of the brand I rocked most during my Tokyo days. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Southpole clothing brand.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the Southpole clothing brand when I was assigned to Yokota Air Base in Fussa, Tokyo. In the days before the boycott, I shopped at the AAFES Base Exchange at the Yokota Community Center. I didn’t see the need to spend lavishly on the more well-known brands like Ralph Lauren Polo, Calvin Klein, Columbia, and IZOD: I found it more beneficial to spend more extravagantly on experiences in Japan rather than clothing in Japan. As a result, Southpole, Vintage Don, and U.S. Polo Assn. became my go-to clothing brands. Of the 3, Southpole had the better selection overall so I rolled with them mostly.
What it meant to me then? At the moment, it didn’t mean much to me other than the Southpole brand really fit well with my Tokyo swag….especially the T-shirts with the Southpole name and logo emblazoned on them.
What it means to me now? I haven’t rocked anything Southpole since my 2nd return to the United States from service overseas in 2010. I didn’t really find the brand readily available in American stores, which leads me to believe it’s a niche market…almost exclusive to overseas. I actually miss wearing the gear. It was nothing for me to be out on those Tokyo trains in the summer months, wearing a pair of Southpole black jean shorts, a red emblazoned Southpole T-shirt and my Reebok Classic sneakers. Sometimes, the swag was just that simple.