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att. Culture - Japonism in Fashon
att. Culture - Japonism in Fashon
att.JAPAN Issue 15, March 2004

Japonism in Fashion


Eastern style meets Western. How the East got to its present fashion state, what can be found, what's in store.

 There is No Fashion That Can't Be Found in Tokyo.
Japonism in Fashon Now more than ever it can be said that there is no fashion out of reach in Tokyo. Just go to Ginza. Its streets are lined with all kinds of top-notch fashion shops. Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, PRADA, BVLGARI, LOUIS VUITTON, GUCCI, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., COACH, HERMES, FENDI, LOEWE, and Christian Dior - it goes on forever. Department stores are packed with such brand stores too. People decked out in these stylish apparel, strut their stuff through the city.
Each select shop puts its particular sense of style to work to create unique fashion sensations. New products, specially chosen on this sense, make for a real shopping adventure.
Japonism in Fashon What lies in store at Harajuku and Shibuya? Popular style here is all about what's cute. So, what's that supposed to mean? It must be how reasonable prices have all the girls yelling "kawaii!" ("how cute!"), as they pick out their next adorable outfit. Reasonably priced brands such as GAP and UNIQLO are also in abundance. There's simply no mistaking it. Tokyo has something to satisfy any lover of fashion.

 East-meets-West Fashion
Japonism in Fashon Japan has only been wearing Western apparel for about 100 years (historically speaking, from the end of the Meiji era to present). But Western wear wasn't seen in an everyday setting until after WWII.
The 60-year metamorphosis from then has been phenomenal. It started with the kimono. Despite whatever beauty can be found in the traditional kimono, Western wear proved to be much more versatile, and practical. Besides, Western wear was generally less expensive.
The Japanese knew practically nothing about Western wear at the time it became popular. They didn't model their clothes' shapes or fit at all like that of the Westerners. The composition and makeup, let alone style features, such as color differences, between Western apparel and the kimono were as different as night and day.
The kimono is a flat, planar piece of fabric that is fitted to the wearer's body, more or less as is (the fabric being fitted to every aspect of the body). Western clothes, on the other hand, consist of tubular, 3-dimensional shapes pieced together. To wear these, the body is then slipped inside. Eastern and Western thoughts on how clothes should be, and the starting point from which the two were created were completely opposite.
On the other hand, Japanese fashion, the kimono included, has had a great effect on Western art, culture, and fashion from long ago. The effect is known as Japonism. Kimonos have been worn as gowns, and have shown up in works of art.
Since GAULTIER, there are quite a few Western designers, modern and not, who have seen Japanese ideas as fresh, new elements in their creations. American movies have flashed several scenes of kimono being worn as gowns. The 'cache cour' design implements a collar that seems similar to that of the kimono.

 Made in Japan
Japonism in Fashon Japan went from mere imitation to being the source style.
From the 1970's to the 1980's, Japan gave birth to all kinds of new trends: ISSEY MIYAKE, COMME des GARCONS, Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo, and Kaneko Isao. They left previous clothing concepts in the dust, emerging with shocking new creations. Could this be called Japanese? What now of the kimono style of fitting planar pieces of cloth to the body? The kimono, that hides the bodyline so that the faults of an imperfect body are compensated for with charming style.
We all know the existence of clothing is purely for people. Surely people do not exist for the clothes. Fundamentally, material, shape, and wearing ease must somehow come together physically. Japanese designers gave the fashion world clothes they had never seen before. But one mustn't forget that these too were made on the basic fundamental principles of wear-ability.
They were lined with new kinds of fabric and techniques. Take Miyake's pleats line of fashion for example, The brand is PLEATS PLEASE an they will not stretch or run, no matter how much you wash or wear them. The beautiful, innovative co-existence of fashion beauty and wearing ease continues to fascinate a world of fans. These designers are going on strong as world fashion leaders to this day.

 Now and Beyond
UNIQLO In the present world of fashion, there is the ever talked of acquisition of "theory LLC" by UNIQLO. "theory," an American brand, offers convenient co-ordinations of tights that highlight the womanly outline - highly supported and approved by all the hard working ladies in the big city. No doubt there is a countless many that benefit from the convenience of UNIQLO's cheap, yet durable, and richly colored line of clothing. For what other fashion store allows the average Joe off the street to feel so comfortable to stop on by? The feeling is much like that of popping into your local convenience store. Yet at the same time, fashion experts go to town with UNIQLO's colorful inner wear, using them to compliment their fancy, outer cast of high-class name brands. This is actually going on everywhere you look. UNIQLO's success must be just that - the fact that you can play with whatever color you want without a care in the world. This is surely a brand to take pleasure in watching how the world market reacts to it.

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