Alexander Lee Chang is not the kind of designer you expect to see at a Tokyo fashion show, his fashion being right from the streets and skate parks of Shibuya, but not just that, it is tied up in the music, art and even food that goes with the whole lifestyle. But that is where events like Shibuya Fashion Festival come in, to give the appropriate cultural context to fashion that comes from the street, and that which just wouldn’t fit in in the halls of Hikarie during Tokyo Fashion Week.
This show was held on the bridge to the Miyashita park skate park in a suitably informal setting which the models built piece by piece as they walked. The theme was all about the splicing and juxtaposition that Alexander Lee Chang does so well, he himself having had a pretty eclectic background having both Japanese and Chinese heritage, and lived in San Fransisco during the West Coast shateboard culture boom before returning to Tokyo just in time for the UraHara streetwear boom. It is had all led to a hell of a mix in his output, and you know what? It really works and has won him fans all over Japan, but especially Tokyo where his flagship boasts an art gallery and cafe/bar which pretty much sums up the lifestyle approach of the brand.
The styling of the show is obviously meant to echo the asymmetric, spliced elements of the collection itself, but at the same time it is easy to see elements of race in it which might be a little problematic for some, but I am assured that the goal was actually to draw attention away from race by creating a global uniform of sorts for skaters in Japan and beyond.
The work is executed really well, with brash cut-outs of colour melding into the panels of traditional streetwear shapes, all the while keeping the weight on the top where possible.
Aside from the skater references, the look nails the current Tokyo bohemian vibe really well that you see so often on the outskirts of Shibuya and over to Shimokitazawa.
Most looks are pretty unisex and all the better for it.
This top with specially designed can/bottle holders is pretty much as lifestyle orientated as you can get – perfect for picnics.
Towards the end of the show, the looks started to get a little bit more adventurous and you could really feel the more Japanese layered elements shine through.
Any show that puts a smile on your face can’t be a bad thing by my standards, and the models looked like they were having a pretty good time by all accounts as well. All in all it was great to see this level of fashion given an airing on a catwalk and was a good reminder of what so much of fashionable Tokyo actually wear – something which is usually forgotten during the Tokyo Fashion Week season.
The designer himself popping up very briefly from the crowd at the end of the show before slipping back into it right afterwards.