Whereas most of you reading this will be familiar with our handmade sneakers or crepe sole stitchdown footwear, the Crown Northampton brand is best known in Japan for its lightweight Jazz shoe collection. In fact, they’re our best selling range with around 25,000 pairs distributed and sold each year through leading stockists such as Beams, United Arrows, Barney’s, and Ships. These influential and well-respected stores are household names within Japan's progressive fashion scene, where customers are known for their appreciation of traditional, well-made craftsmanship, seamlessly styled through inventive cross-category looks.
The secret to their success, we believe, lies in the versatility and simplicity. The Jazz Collection has always been focused on lightweight construction, minimal styling, comfort, and flexibility. Having been originally designed for jazz dancing, the range has evolved from the original archive model through design tweaks and numerous updated style additions; yet the original roots and product DNA remain clear and obvious. Playing to core brand values, the Jazz Collection is made entirely in our Northampton factory from start to finish. The soft supple materials for the uppers are sourced locally from Northampton's best leather merchants, the laces from a supplier just outside the town centre, and even the rubber soles that flex with the foot's natural movement are made in the neighbouring town of Rushden. Therefore all components for the Jazz Collection are either made or sourced within the Northamptonshire county postcode, all helping sustain and add to the local economy.
While the Jazz Collection might be an unfamiliar style to some, their pared-back designs and clean aesthetic have informed the Crown Northampton brand, laying the foundations for other collections and products such as the Upton sneaker. The Upton is a traditional wholecut design that uses the same one-piece upper also found on the bestselling Regent Jazz shoe model. Both styles are from different collections yet share a similar clean, flowing look with unique finish and barely any visible stitching. These processes are achieved by carefully combining traditional construction with modern-day styling; core design principles that run throughout all Crown Northampton footwear collections. Other popular Jazz models that feature classic footwear styling include the Talbot Oxford with familiar dress shoe lacing, the Turner Apron with hand-finished raised seam detail, and the Hervey Slipper with neatly bound edges and clean lines throughout.
With qualities like these, it’s no wonder the Jazz Collection has been adopted as a summer wardrobe staple by some of Japan’s most stylish men and women. Unisex sized ranging from UK 3-11, their refined shape makes them perfect for dressing up or down - be it sockless, with a vintage pair of 501s and a polo shirt, or a navy seersucker suit while travelling.
Often styled with classic contemporary English brands such as Margaret Howell and Sunspel, Jazz sits equally well with vintage and American workwear, whilst still showing the versatility to pair up with Japanese brands such as Haversack and Comme Des Garcons; above all, simplicity is the key. Jazz are the ideal choice when adding finishing touches to many outfits, covering loose wide-leg fits to classic tailored cuts, they transition effortlessly.
Summer style inspiration can always be found from long time wearers of Crown Jazz such as Beams Menswear Director Shuhei Nishiguchi and Ryosuke Serizawa of Beams F. Plus the Jazz Regent model remains a firm favourite of Yasuto 'Kamoshita', the ever-stylish creative director of United Arrows and namesake brand label owner.
You may not be out perusing the streets of Tokyo anytime soon, but the Jazz Collection is perfect for transitioning through the seasons year after year. With their lightweight balance and supreme comfort, we also think they make an excellent stay at home shoe, preparing you for when it’s finally time to leave the house again.
Shop the full Jazz Collection here.