Last night at the Christian Dada S/S 2012 show as the exhibition hall at Belle Salle gradually filled to bursting point I was made very acutely aware that within that one room there was well over 50% of the Tokyo underground fashion scene – from the guys from Berberjin clad in studded rags, to the Candy club kids, Tune regulars and everyone in between. On one hand it felt like you were part of a vast crowd, but at the same time that group of like-minded people is very very small relative to the total fashion scene in Tokyo, tiny compared to the mainstream and a dot in the context of the city itself. As the people streamed out of the venue after the (excellent) show they were quickly swallowed up in the streams of salarymen coming out of the offices nearby – offices that I might do well to mention contain the number of people at the show in a single floor.
What I am getting at is the vastness of Tokyo which is not all that easy to adjust to, as my beloved Douglas Adams noted – if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion. On the other hand I don’t want to sound like Zaphod too much, (who fans will remember only survived the vortex thanks to his vast ego) but even though you as an individual are but an invisible dot upon an invisible dot in the grand scheme of Tokyo I can’t think of a city where it is easier to make yourself heard. Thanks to the saturation of people it is possible for the most niche of brands to exist on a healthy customer base, even if that number is tiny compared to the might of fast fashion, that is still an artist producing great work and making people happy.
Take this one night in Shinjuku for example, I must have passed 5 or six street performers on my rounds of the station each effectively performing to tens of thousands of people in a single night. Yes they are but individuals, but thanks to the aforementioned scale they are making their voices quite literally heard.
Next I made my way into east Shinjuku and happened upon a street art exhibit:
Beautiful – and seen my thousands just because it is in Tokyo. Now it will be long gone, but for that night it united everyone who walked past, noticed it and hopefully admire it.
For one to exist in Tokyo requires you to ignore the vastness of the city by placing it within your own palatable frame, but by equal turns it is the infinite possibilities that makes it seem exciting knowing that you could turn the next corner and run into something like this:
As the Vortex itself will tell you: You are here.
No apologies for the repeated references to Douglas Adam’s work in this post – if you have not read it, you should.