Hot on the heels of our roomsLINK coverage comes a look at Rooms 26, the first shot fired in the incoming A/W 2013-14 Japanese fashion season and a scramble of some 500 brands vying for the opportunity to  shine next season.  It continues a lot of themes that we identified in our roomsLINK report, so we thought we would run these two trade shows together (they are run by the same company as it is), not least a focus on the rising ‘pop-culture meets fashion’ boom as exemplified by Denpa performing at the official party clad in Jenny Fax.  This time however we will be focusing on the abundance of traditional Japanese elements in the fashion offerings before moving on to the more modern themes in part 2.

The wonderful Rooms space inside the spectacular Yoyogi National Stadium – the showroom space extends right under the seating and into the rafters.

It was clear that the key to nailing this as yet under-explored aesthetic is to really mix the old and the new.  Whether that is traditional textiles or artisanal techniques used in very western clothing, or else fundamentally Japanese items captured using the tastes of the moment.  Above and below is AAbab’s take, Japanese kimono rendered with the vibe of the Harajuku street.

Elsewhere the Parisienne burlesque is re-created out of vintage kimono fabric thanks to Monja – Kofumode.  I think this particular brand is an absolute winner, and given that this is the young designer’s first season hopefully we can expect something pretty special in the future.

You might remember Cune’s bad taste collection from Tokyo Fashion Week, here you can see their Sukajyan with a twist in its full glory,

incongruously placed next to stunning denim dyed the darkest of blacks by BL-WHY in Kyoto.

Coshell2 was another very strong brand this time round who fused Western and Japanese bags together as never before.

The closure of the above is in the traditional Japanese style (and used to be made of ivory – here it is plastic), but the cat is pure cute culture.

This cheeky chap caught our eye on our rounds – I thought the point of daruma is the lack of arms and legs?

This brand mixes traditional cord weaving with modern accessories very well indeed.

We will have a look at this jewelry line in greater detail in the future.

More rice, this time beautifully painted and only viewable through a thick magnifying glass.

There was also an abundance of pure traditional craftsmen, something rarely seen side by side with modern fashion.  Here the urushi laquer that the trade show was named after is being applied to Japanese precious wood.  While this is something I personally get a real kick out of, I think it is the old/new mix that is going to gain traction this next season.

That is all for now, but stay tuned for part 2 where we are going to be looking at the big cutting edge trends to come out of Rooms 26.

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