Yuketen, Crescent Down Works, Big Rock Candy Mountaineering – brands in Paris

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Last week I wrote about visiting the Paris trade shows for the first time, and being able to interview some new brands as a result. Today I’m going to highlight three that we found particularly interesting. 

The first is Yuketen, the craft-based shoemaker run by Japanese designer Yuki Matsuda (below). 

Yuki is known primarily for making American-style moccasins and boots, to a high level. He uses materials such as Horween leather and hand-sews the moccasin stitch on the upper - basically, the Japanese approach to quality applied to this traditional style of shoe. 

It’s part of a bigger group called Meg Company (named after Yuki’s wife Megumi) that includes Chamula, Epperson Mountaineering and Monitaly (named after his daughter Monica). The Yuketen range includes some more fashion-y designs, but there are also always classic boots, moccasins and loafers. 

“I’ve been in the business since 1985, but ran a vintage operation for a few years before I started Yuketen,” Yuki told us. “I think a lot of companies start this way - they want to recreate the vintage that they see but can’t buy any more.”

Yuki has just had to move some of the production to Italy, because one craftsman retired that did a lot of the hand sewing. “The stitch up the back seam on the boots was the hardest thing,” he says (shown on the boot above). “Nobody else could do that. But there are advantages to doing some things in Italy now - channel stitching on a sole is impossible to do in the US at a decent price for example.”

I have a pair of Yuketen Bluchers - the ones with the camp sole and little kiltie on the laces - and you really feel the quality of the leather compared to other moccasins, boat shoes and the like. The sole is thin - you wouldn’t want to be walking on concrete all day in them - but they’re incredibly comfortable. 

Style wise, this is a category of shoe I’d like to cover more. It can look a little old-mannish, but it’s also a nice option for something that is very easy and very comfortable, more casual than most boots or loafers, and not a trainer. I find the key to avoiding the old-fashioned associations is wearing them with clothes that are not in that mould. Eg western wear, sportswear, and less trad colours. 

The second brand we spent a long time talking to was Wythe. We covered Peter Middleton’s company last year, after we visited their new store in New York. But this was an opportunity to see all the new things, plus a new brand Peter has started, Big Rock Candy Mountaineering (BRCM, above). 

BRCM leans into the colourful, playful side of the American outdoor clothing that people have been mining in recent years. “There was this great scene in the 1960s and 70s in Yosemite and elsewhere, of a real lifestyle around climbing,” says Peter. “The clothes were a bit random, often homemade, and there was a lot of colour.”

BRCM was launching at Man/Woman in Paris, with orders being taken for the Autumn - so there’s nowhere currently selling it online (see previous article for how the industry works in this regard). But the images here give a sense of the aesthetic; there’s also a little climbing dude printed on the tees and sweats that reminds me of a Robert Crumb character. 

The quality is not necessarily what most PS readers will be aiming for - the black jacket I'm wearing has a synthetic fill and will retail for $288. The chinos are $198. 

But some others have a down fill, and the designs are great. I love exploring the clothing that comes from a period and a place I didn’t know before - like the double-knee climbing trousers with big store pockets on the back, which became more and more threadbare as climbers used them, almost as a point of pride. 

The rest of the Wythe range includes some half-button knits (above) that are an old design but you don’t see much. A nice alternative to a half-zip. And there were hats, boots and fringed leather jackets. 

The last brand it was good to see was Crescent Down Works, also in the main room at Man/Woman. That room had such a great selection of interesting outdoors brands such as Viberg, Merz b Schwanen, Goldwin and Nanamica, most of whom don’t show at Pitti.

I knew Crescent Down Works vaguely, and readers have brought them up a few times in comments. Our photographer Alex had also bought a popping purple gilet from them when we travelled to Korea last year

But I didn’t realise they have been around since 1974, or that the founder originally helped pioneer down at Eddie Bauer - timely, given our recent piece on them. “It was my mum’s brand, and now we run it together with my brother,” Annie Michelson told us. “We still make everything ourselves in Seattle.”

Apparently there are only three manufacturers of down products left in the US, and the other two are much more technical. Crescent has stayed rooted in its original product, which has made it more of a leisure offering over time. “We’re technical, just 1980s technical,” Annie said. “Whether that’s enough for you depends on what you need the clothing for.”

The pieces are made quite simply too, but we’re talking £289 for a down gilet, so it’s a chunk cheaper than something like Rocky Mountain Featherbed. There are also options with cotton/nylon outers rather than just nylon, similar to the Bauer Skyliner

The styling on their website is also nice - simple but stylish. I like the fact that the products are grouped by colour rather than category, perhaps because it suggests there is a design pricess at work there, not just a manufacturing one. 

“All the down we use these days is recycled,” Annie added. “It helps that there are some really big brands now who often have excess, like North Face. We can use all their surplus and make sure it doesn’t go to waste.”

Apparently Crescent are only at Paris every two or three years, so it was great to catch them. 

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I wore a Crescent Down Works puffer for a good number of winters. It was a lovely piece, authentic Heavy Duty/Rugged Ivy stuff. Looking at the new Wythe label, I’m not sure what if any reason there would be for choosing it over the genuine article. Nothing against Wythe btw, I like a lot of their stuff. What would you say, Simon?

Bobby S

Really enjoying these articles Simon, good to see coverage of different brands. The comments about the Yuketen shoes really resonated as I’ve been looking for a good casual footwear option. I’ve found it surprisingly tricky to find options to replace trainers without looking too formal.

Also interesting to read about the struggles of making moccasins in the US. No doubt a lot of different factors involved but seems a shame given the heritage.


Rancourt in the U.S. makes excellent moccasin footwear. I have their classic ranger moc and it is a fantastic shoe, very durable and good looking.


Yuketen Boat Shoes are probably the only boat shoes (together with paraboots) that I would love to own and wear. I don’t get the usual associations I have with them as with Timberland Boat Shoes every other stiff and conservative economics student wears here around Germany.
Also interesting, that Yuki said channel stitching is impossible to do in the US at a decent price. Puts Aldens price spikes into perspective to me.
Great article as always Simon!



I hope this message finds you well. I am reaching out to gather your insights on a topic that has been on my mind recently: the negotiation of price increases with a tailor, particularly those driven by rising costs or taxes affecting the tailor’s business.

On one hand, it seems straightforward to accept that prices are subject to change, and as a customer, I have the option to either continue using the tailor’s services or not. However, I also wonder about the concept of sharing the burden of these increases, similar to how responsibilities are balanced in any partnership. It appears that the issue at hand is not about the business becoming unprofitable, but rather experiencing a decrease in profitability. This leads me to question the fairness of solely shouldering the financial impact to maintain my tailor’s profit margins, especially considering that I have not undertaken the same entrepreneurial risks.

I am also interested in hearing about how others have approached such situations in the past, including any strategies or conversations that proved effective.

I look forward to your thoughts and any advice you might have.


Another US-made down company is Feathered Friends, also in Seattle. I’m curious what the third one is.


David, I was just thinking about this, and I believe the answer is Western Mountaineering. They’re still manufacturing in San Jose. I’ve spent my money with FF, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about WM. Do you have any experience with either brand?


Maybe Western Mountaineering, in San Jose?


Hi Simon,
Just for information, a small selection of Crescent Down Works is carried by American Classics in London, should anyone local readers wish yo see and try them (listed on their website) and also by Dickies in Edinburgh.
As always an interesting article.


Yes, Dick’s. Apologies for the error.


A little off topic, but it’s a touch disappointing that you have not acknowledged the passing of Martin Greenfield.


The Telegraph ran his obit yesterday. Amazing life’s story. I had no idea.


Love Yuketen. Have pretty much every style they do. More articles please!

Also please persuade Viberg to go back to their workwear roots instead of the endless ‘refined’ boots they are doing. Cheers.


I might wear the bluchers with kilties that you mentioned with chinos and a very casual blazer (engineered garments or something) but that is as smart as I ever dress. What am even doing here?!


Dear Simon,

Any idea where Crescent Down can be purchased on this side of the Atlantic (the European Continent)?


Just an FYI: Nick over at the Garmology podcast posted a lovely interview with Yuki Matsuda in February. Yuki talks about the origins of each of his brands. It’s worth a listen.


I have a Crescent Down vest in “kermit” green, which I bought from Dicks in Edinburgh. As far as I can see I think they are the only UK stockist.

It has been a great piece and is my goto over the winter


Crescent Down Works features a bit in the latest episode of Huckberry’s Dirt series, set in Kyushu. It’s mostly about food, but features a lot of cool outdoorsy outfits and beautiful landscapes.


Hi Simon, maybe with the recent trip, can you also add more shops to the Paris city guide?