JUST STEPS AWAY from the crowds swarming the Shibuya subway station and the dense commercial maze of Harajuku, we made our way over to Tokyo’s Sendagaya neighborhood, a charming pocket of the city where storefronts have much more room to breathe, and we felt like we could relax a little more too. Glad Hand’s main boutique there, Glad Hand “Core”–so called because it’s the home to all seven brands that Glad Hand encompasses–is in a certain way very characteristic of Tokyo: unassuming at first glance from the street, but once you’re through the door, it’s like you’ve stumbled upon a true hidden gem.
The staff at Glad Hand welcomed us like old friends and gave us some of the history of the company, the shop, and the many hand-painted vintage pieces that were a major source of inspiration for all seven brands, including Gangsterville and Glad Hand & Co. These graphics, painted by a Tokyo-based artist who goes by L., continue to be incorporated into Glad Hand’s designs. We loved seeing the original paintings, which reference a wide range of Japanese and American subcultures from the last hundred years or more, scattered throughout the store on everything from vintage helmets to suitcases. Between L.’s artwork, pristine early 20th century American memorabilia and one-of-a-kind handmade fixtures, all of a sudden we found ourselves right at home.