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John Lofgren,Speedway Shop,Sendai

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    Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 4:47pm
where were you born?

Technically I was born in Selma, California, but my family is actually from Kingsburg. I would have been born there had there been a proper hospital. Kingsburg was a small Swedish community located in the center of California. When I was growing up there it was a lot like Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. The cops weren't nearly as cool though. And still aren't from what everyone says.

1st job?

Construction. It inspired me to go to college.





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote badseed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 4:51pm
favourite record?
Impossible to say...I like a few different genres of music, from old jazz, Tin Pan Alley, country/rockabilly, northern soul, 70s & 80s punk and I have a soft spot for 40s & 50s Japanese music too. Ever heard the original version of Tokyo Boogie Woogie? Or going back even more, I love the Manchurian born Japanese singer Yamaguchi Yoshiko (aka Li Xianglan). She also starred in House of Bamboo and was billed as Shirley Yamaguchi... Again, too much info?




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favourite film?
Come on! Here we go again with the favorites... Ok, it's actually pretty easy, first movie that comes to mind and I've seen more than any is Blade Runner. Big fan. I'm of course a huge fan of the classics from the USA and Europe. But if I had to recommend one movie overall, it would have to be Tokyo Story by Yasujiru Ozu. If you haven't seen it, then you need to as it truly is a masterpiece. Whoever made your favorite movie, Tokyo Story is probably their favorite movie. Oh, I'm a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki's earlier movies too. 

1st brush with subculture?
7th grade, jr. high school I got into punk rock...There was a college radio station that played punk and late at night with the radio dial tweaked just right I could capture the signal. It was fantastic. But in 8th grade I saw Quadrophenia and that changed everything about me. You gotta keep in mind where I grew up, small farming town in the dead center of California. It wasn't SF or LA, very little excitement... Then this country boy and a few of his friends decide The Who and Small Faces are what's in, and Vespas and Lambrettas are the preferred mode of transportation. It was good fun.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote badseed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 4:55pm
I pinched this pic of John  from the link below



http://www.heritageresearch.co.uk/site/index.php?page=9&act=latestNews


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what made you move to Japan?
Various reasons really...I was working at a raghouse selling vintage clothing wholesale and saw no future there. One of my customers from Japan offered me a position as a buyer for his company and to open up a vintage clothing shop of my own. I really didn't care for the vintage clothing wholesale business as nobody was all that interested in the clothing, it was just about how much you could sell a piece to the Japanese. Now, most of the buyers in Japan had a genuine interest in the clothing, which also appealed to me too. So it was stay in the US and be around people that were just trying to source a rare item to flip it to a Japanese buyer, or go be around people that were actually interested in said item. Of course it's different now in the USA, there's a level of interest there that rivals Japan. By the way, working in a raghouse taught me a lot about clothing and throw away fashion. In one day of sorting there would be a ten foot tall mountain of Ralph Lauren clothing, an even taller mountain of Tommy Hilfiger. The piles of classic clothing like Levis, Lee and Wrangler were tiny in comparison.   
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when did you open Speedway?
I opened Speedway in 2007, and that was only for new clothing. I opened Honky Tonk (aka Honky Tonk Co., or H.T.C., and no affiliation to the other H.T.C.), which was only vintage clothing in 2000. I actually had both opened at the same time for a while but with the financial crises in 2008 hit us hard and one shop had to go. It's when I really decided go all out with new, but traditional style clothing. I loved the fact that one could get the traditional look they wanted, minus the ill fit and stains that comes with a lot of vintage. Back in the day when I would travel to the USA on buying trips I would only wear remake stuff (so I wouldn't damage my vintage) like Japanese Levis and Sun Surf aloha shirts. I always thought it was funny how all the dealers at the Rose Bowl thought it was all real vintage. The reaction was the same to a $100 remake as if it was a $1000 vintage piece. It hammered down the point, it was about the money for them, not the clothing.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote badseed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 5:24pm
when did you start designing?
I made my first 50s style shirt in the early 1990s. I had Mr. Long (of Mr. Long's Tailored Fashions, a Fresno landmark!) sew it up for me. Total disaster. Mr. Long did a fine job, he was my favorite tailor from my mod days. The problem was I simply didn't have a clue to what I was doing. I didn't seriously consider designing anything again until about 2001, after I moved to Japan. Funny story about the guy that offered to take care of all the sewing...He ran into some financial difficulties and him and his wife (he was half Japanese and half American, and his wife was from the Philippines) hatched this plan to steal a baby from the hospital and hold it for ransom. He stole the baby and was in Jail 2 days later for it. Baby was fine of course. So I'm watching tv and the guy that offered to take care of the sewing for my new venture is on tv busted for kidnapping. I was deep into vintage at the time anyway, but I already sensed a foreboding feeling that good vintage was going to dry up faster than I originally anticipated. I didn't make anything with my name on it again until about 2006.    


Edited by badseed - 19 Apr 2012 at 5:24pm
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you pretty much do everything,prints,rings,hats and clothing
 
is there anything you wouldnt have a crack at?

Nah, I'd pretty much have a crack at anything I want to make if my schedule allows. I also do some OEM work, so not 100% of my time goes to the John Lofgren & Co. brand. I have a staff of four working for me now so this helps free me up a bit to work on more projects.
 
Whats your favourite Lofgren piece?
They're all my favorites, a lot of time and money goes into each piece.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (7) Thanks(7)   Quote badseed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 5:26pm
Whats the biggest heartache from being an owner,operator and employer?

I hope you packed a lunch, this could take all day. I'll give you a sample and try to keep it short. When I can't get someone to understand what I'm trying to do, or what my brand is about. That's a heartache for me. You know, because it's not just about the clothing. It's about making a statement, about not just saying we're different, but actually doing things differently. I make everything in Japan, not only do I feel the best textiles (especially denim, if you actually take the time to buy the better quality Japanese denim, because if you're not sure and you're leaving it up to someone to procure it for you, then your Japanese denim more than likely came came from Thailand or China) are here, and the highest quality sewing factories, but more important than all of that, there's no slave labor. There's no child labor. I drive out to one of the sewing factories I use and the parking lot is full of cars. Those cars belong to the people manning the sewing machines. They make a living salary. It's fair trade without the official title "Fair Trade." In China and most other Asian nations, if you operate a sewing machine, you are not making enough to ever buy a car. In Japan they make more, these are people who go on vacation, they spend their money in your countries, cash gets circulated. It's better for everyone. This is what we're about, and we'd still be about this if my company produced paperclips, or toothbrushes. I just happen to have a passion for traditional style clothing so that's how I support the cause I believe in. I'd like more people to understand this, and if they believe in the same cause as I do but don't care for my brand, that's just fine with me. If they believe in the same cause and do like my brand, all the better.  


Edited by badseed - 19 Apr 2012 at 5:47pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badseed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2012 at 5:46pm
I had about a million more questions but didnt want to chew up too much of Johns time
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