The two weeks after the official Tokyo Fashion Week are actually the busiest ones for us here at Tokyo Telephone, hence why we haven’t got round to writing about half of the shows as of yet.  It is when my buying duties begin and that means showroom after showroom as I try to take what I have seen at the shows and attempt to turn it into racks of clothes, often condensing an entire show into a single rack that hopefully still manages to tell the same story.  After the displays of culture and fashion as art at the runway presentation it can also be a bit of a reality check as grandiose presentations become unstuck when you actually examine the construction, price it and ask the all important question – is anyone actually going to buy it?  Personally, I relish both perspectives, especially as the internet shopping age is starting to make the whole business a bit of an exercise in soulless practical acquisition, but also because a sole focus on the culture of fashion can rapidly disconnect you from reality.

My favorite showroom of the season has to be Comme des Garcons mainline presented in their clinical offices in Aoyama.  We may have looked at the show already, but actually being there makes you see the collection in a completely different light altogether.

Regrettably the media focus (which I am contributing to here) on showrooms can actually exaggerate the consumerist nature of fashion as people look beyond the shows and start thinking of these kind of write-ups as little more than shopping lists – a situation exaggerated ten-fold as the shops themselves send images to good clients for pre-order with a discout.  At Tokyo Fashion Week, this has already escalated to the point where the public are allowed into certain showrooms for private orders.  This could be seen as a further democratization of fashion, but I can’t help that it is just a distraction from the cultural value of fashion for the general public, can’t we just take a moment to appreciate what these wonderful people have created before we put a value on it?

Luckily Comme des Garcons stops you in your tracks at every turn, you can’t help but  admire the work, your order sheet forgotten.

Beyond the role of the buyer, the media is giving people immediacy and a level of detail they clearly crave.  Viewers clearly want this extreme level of coverage of a collection, second only to actually handling the work, and I am mostly happy to oblige.  But like my dual role as buyer and media it is that all important balance between admiration and consumption that you as the viewer must too keep.  I can’t help but feel that the media coverage of an exhibition feeds an unhealthy desire at times, albeit something easily avoided with CDG as each and every item is a show in and of itself.

Allow yourself to be sucked in:

I would be interested to hear people’s thoughts on the role of showrooms and indeed showroom coverage.  I have already heard from some that they prefer it to the runway shows, and if that is the case, just where are we heading?

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One Response to The Importance of the Exhibition

  1. Great write up!
    For me personally I think having both the showroom and the runway is great… There’s something special about interacting with the clothes on the showroom floor, but at the same time there is something artistic and inspiring watching the clothes in movement on the runway. I think for me, even the choice of models can be really interesting, and tell a story that we might not see the same in a showroom.

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