The highlight of Hyper Japan 2011 for us here at Tokyo Telephone was the chance to see the latest work from the UK based Japanese designers fresh out of Central Saint Martins College (amongst others) and they certainly did not disappoint. Although the irony was not lost that while most of the attendees of Hyper Japan do go so far as to deify Japanese fashion, the designers themselves had taken great pains to learn about fashion in the West, but it was a great pleasure to see London once again acting as the lens for that particular conversation to go through. Ultimately it showed that not only does the UK still have the power to nurture stunning designers, but also that certain Japanese aesthetics do always seem to find a way to surface in fashion.
The designers all had a curated booth (more on those later) to showcase their collections, but there was also a brief fashion show on the Hyper Japan stage that did well to introduce the designers.
First up was Arisa Fukumoto whose fantastical Alice in Wonderland themed work was a direct hit with the lolita aficionados who flocked to Hyper Japan.
What I particularly liked in her work was the fact that she was influenced by many of the Western elements such as ballet, the aforementioned Wonderland and classical femininity that also inspired the early lolita fashion, but she takes it in a markably different direction.
Next was Akemi Doi, the ex-model who brings an accesible casualness to the usually formal kimono:
Doi chose the path of dressing her models live on stage to demonstrate versatility, and overall her work was very accesible. It was nice to see kimono sleeves and detailing making its way to more casual clothing when it is relatively rare to find this kind of mix between East and West in Japanese fashion.
Last to the stage was Satoshi Date with a collection focused on the artisan ethic and the function behind clothes, although I must say that his actual work for retail is very wearable and practical.
I definitely admired the amount of work done by hand is his collection, from the hand weaving and stitching right down to hand-dying on his A/W collection. You could tell it was a labour of love and I was particularly struck by the fact that he was so hands-on with every aspect of his collection from the soundtrack, lighting and even designing his booth – he had a strong vision and he made sure it was realised.
Take a look at the various booths that the designers set up – enjoy:
Whilst I was going round the booths I was also interviewing the designers for a video (again, coming soon!) so check back for a closer look at the work and a chat about the state of the UK / Japanese fashion scene.
Just a teaser photo for now!
I hope you will join me in wishing these fresh Japanese designers all the best, they are clearly talented and I am sure we will be hearing more from them.