Following on from our appearance in ADD Magazine that came out a day or two ago (details here), today The Japan Times newspaper’s Sunday Timeout section features Samuel’s review of menswear at Tokyo Fashion Week. If you are in Japan then I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to nip down to your local convenience store and pick it up, but if you are abroad then you can read it on their website here.
In the article I touched upon the division in Japanese menswear at the moment, which seems conflicted between endless practical outdoor wear and unwearable niche avant-garde. Obviously it is in the crossover that you find the most interesting work, but I think it was surprising how many designers at Fashion Week were quite happy to ally themselves so firmly with either camp, especially when the point of a presentation is surely first to dazzle and then move on to the commercial subtext. Basically, I just wish more would strike a balance between putting on a bit of a show, or putting out a couple of items that are just for the catwalk, and firing out a whole collection that looks like it is ready for the shelves.
The best examples of a perfect balance were without a doubt Christian Dada and In-Process (who both had their shows produced by the same team). Both shows built to a climax, and weren’t afraid to entertain their crowd with something visually exciting, confident in the fact that their core work was going to sell well.
When most people think of modern Japanese culture they tend to think of quite dynamic presentational techniques, and I am consistently surprised that Fashion Week rarely reflects that. Brands like Araisara might have the sombre presentational style nailed, but the dynamism of youth hasn’t really found its place. At the shows that did, you could see the connection between the clothes and the public who wear them, but at those shows that didn’t establish that link, the work felt isolated and out of context.
I suppose what I am getting at, is that I would like to see a bit more drama at Fashion Week. Don’t get me wrong, the fashion itself is great, I just wish the presentations were a little more confident in expressing that.
Perhaps it comes down to the prevailing attitude that because the public aren’t invited to be part of the proceedings, that the shows should be tailored towards buyers and press, when in reality it is also a great chance to put on a show you can use to communicate with your audience directly online.
Anyway, if you read the article in The Japan Times you will be able to see what I thought of the week as a whole, and needless to say you can expect full reviews of the vast majority of the shows on this site in the coming weeks and months.