Tokyo Fashion Week roundup: girl power and fine materials take center stage
While street fashion at the Big Four fashion weeks transitioned into classic retro and demure styles, Tokyo’s take trended towards modern basics and girlish femininity. The keyword for this season, released by Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo, was 'Kodo,' meaning 'do as we like'. Rather than focusing on unstable situations and environmental issues, it appeared that designers were conscious of their sympathy to the consumer with their lifestyle and preferences for 'likes' and 'comfort'. There could have also been influences from the shrinking Japanese market and it appeared that designers were increasingly exploring themes that were also compatible with the demands of foreign markets.
Girl power and fashion-Lolita
Even if the skater-style street trend has recently lost some of its popularity, the streets fo Tokyo are home to many other subcultures. On the runways of Europe, classic ladies and dominatrix-style powerful elegance reigns but in Tokyo, femininity is more girly. The femininity that women want to wear now may be demure but there were some collections that had a dark, rock-inspired power.
Shushu/ Tong, which made its debut in Shanghai, presented a collection that showcased its unique dark yet girly worldview. Garments featured structured volume and blood-splash graphics that were creepy-cute. The design duo are enamoured with Japan’s subcultures and created a collection that was as wearable as it was fashion forward. Shueh Jen-Fang and Jenny Fax combined striped socks with acid-wash denim and lace and ruffles to express the spirit of 'kawaii' in their own way. From the fans that rushed the show’s venue, it is clear that the brand creates 'real clothes' that are both theatrical and sympathetic.
The fashion week also saw a playful collection by Kotohayokozawa that seemed to embody a very modern notion of girl power. The show had the feel of the dawn after an all-night party and featured patchwork knits that could be worn just as easily in spring/ summer as in autumn/ winter. Summer sandals and underwear-style accessories also added to the feeling of everyday femininity. 'Wearing what I like when I want to' was the mantra of this fresh collection.
Materials first, clothes as the product
The simple phrases 'Focused on materials' or 'Made in Japan' have lost their appeal. This wasn't just a case of marketing, as designers gave the same careful consideration to materials as would be given by product designers -- leading to the emergence of a new, minimal style.
Along the lines of Auralee, which had shown its collection during Paris Fashion Week, The Reracs showed an impressively simple collection. Basic items like trench-coats, jackets, blouses, and skirts in mostly plain fabrics dominated the runway and it was the texture and the cut of the clothing that kept the spectator’s attention. The Tokyo Fashion Award finalist Postelegant also presented a striking collection of modern coats and tailored garments that used fine materials such as double wool and cashmere.
From Europe to Tokyo
Amazon's At Tokyo program, which invites overseas designers to showcase their work to the Japanese market, also saw some standout shows. This time, designers participated at their own expense and their reasons for doing so were varied. This shows the current and future significance of the fashion week.
Returning from Paris, Anrealage presented 'Detail,' a collection with a new men’s look. Kunihiko Morinaga said at the show: “We can better express our creative vision by showing in both Paris and Tokyo.”
Beautiful People had held a show in February last year to commemorate the first anniversary of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s consortium to support young people which focused on business expansion and support for domestic designers and the brand showed again this season.
The highlight of the season was perhaps Koché. Designer Christelle Kocher presented a playful collection that included a unique collaboration with the movie Detective Pikachu and presented a Tokyo-inspired show that also made full use of the brand’s DNA. Kocher’s 'Tokyo Love’ was a strong addition to At Tokyo during the fashion week.
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