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Ichi Antiquites, the Japanese Brand Making All the Linen You Could Ever Want

Like Eileen Fisher, but better.

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Photo: Vera Mishurina for Namu Shop

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As a quick scan of the indie boutique scene or a few swipes through Instagram will tell you, linen is cool now. You’ll probably see the fabric everywhere this summer, in the form of roomy jumpsuits, maxi dresses, and those boxy button-down tops you might remember your mom wearing in the ’90s. But finding cuts that are wearable, affordable, and won’t look like a rumpled mess after 15 minutes is a little easier said than done.

In lieu of blowing $300 to $400 on one of those dresses or jumpsuits from Ilana Kohn or Caron Callahan (you know, those oversized ones that every cool boutique worker seems to own), I had just been planning to keep my eyes peeled at vintage stores. That is, until I fell in love with an obscure (at least here) Japanese brand called Ichi Antiquites.

I came across the label while scoping out a multi-brand sample sale for Racked’s Instagram account, drawn to the rack of linen dresses, pants, and tops in over-dyed jewel tones, deep indigos, and neutral grays. The saleswoman assured me everything was one-size-fits-all, and since I had about three minutes to decide, I grabbed the brightest thing on the rack — a wrap dress in a pretty fuschia pink — and handed over $50.

I usually regret sample sale purchases almost immediately, but not this one; I couldn’t be happier with it. The OSFA cut means it works on me two totally different ways: as a loose drop-waist dress, or as a ’50s-ish defined-waist tea-length dress. It’s been two weeks and I’ve already worn it in what feels like 100 scenarios: to a bridal shower, to the office, to a fancy work dinner, running errands around my neighborhood, out to drinks with friends, and on and on. We’re barely in June and I’m already imagining how I’ll wear the dress layered with turtlenecks once it’s cold again.

After some online research, I’m totally smitten with the rest of the Ichi lineup, too — though admittedly confused by its website, which is completely in Japanese. The brand was founded in Fukuoka in 2004 and focuses on simple designs in natural materials like linen and cotton that (supposedly, will let you know) get softer over time and with more washing. Aside from the dress I’ve been living in, I’m especially enamored with these striped drawstring pants ($180), these khaki linen overalls ($210), and this roomy linen shirt dress ($250), which can also be worn as a jacket. This indigo-dyed blouse ($160) is pretty great as well, and you can get a pajama-style linen set if that’s your thing. (The cotton stuff looks nice, too — check out the pullover and striped T-shirt below.)

Thanks to a decent list of North American stockists and another confusing-but-very-fun-to-browse Japanese site that ships to the US called Zozotown, you can shop most of its collection in English and for USD. I suggest hitting up San Francisco’s Mill Mercantile, Portland’s Alder & Co, or Houston’s Namu Shop for the best web experience, or contacting the site directly if you want to try and buy the exact wrap dress I picked up.