The glitz and glamour of Tokyo Fashion Week may be just around the corner, but right now in Parco Part 1 Shibuya there is an altogether different fashion feast going on, one that might just excite more than anything waiting for us on the runway. The masterminds behind the Coconogacco alternative fashion school, Mikio Sakabe and Writtenafterwards’ Yoshikazu Yamagata, have finally been given a mainstream forum to express themselves, as well as showcase their students’ work. In many ways it is a continuation from what we saw at Trans Art Tokyo, but it feels all the more focused in a smaller space, the ideas don’t require so much explanation and the two producers have clearly had a hand in polishing the celebration of chaotic creation coming out of Coconogacco into something the general public might just be able to relate to.
As a stand against traditional views of fashion exemplified by the gentrified and globalized Fashion Week it is definitely a bold stand against the tide on a conceptual level, and as an attempt to genuinely propose what the clothes that this way of thinking might produce it is even better. Still, many will be unable to get past the reality that this is a work in progress, the deliberate avoidance of making clothes for sale is key to the direction of the project. After all, the moment you move into production, buying and established institutions of the fashion industry to start to let that effect what you produce. No, now it is the time to work out what the context of the fashion, only once that is complete will the clothes come, and until then it is the very context itself that the designers are creating.
I don’t want to say too much about each individual exhibit in the museum space as it is still running at the time of writing, so I would love for anyone in the city to pay it a visit and come to their own conclusions. For today I will just give you a practical guide pointing out details you might miss, for example the girls above had unshaven legs with random sprouts of longer hair added in.
“Hope” by new brand Alicorn, the art is painted first, the real clothes are a by-product.
Weak Man’s Dream by Tomohiro Sato, note the samurai armor made of wool on the right.
My Mother’s Mode by Ryota Murakami, the mother of the designer is the source of inspiration here and thus finds herself exhibited.
With my Mother by Akira Sato.
What Future for us.
The mascot of the exhibition “Sacchan”, only turns up destroyed in this exhibit, another doll watching a video of her when she was intact.
Mofuku-chan, the owner of Dear Stage in Akihabara gives us a taste of her own world.
Shun Hidaka gives us a man playing ping pong with a lady on screen, seemingly unaware that she is lying beneath him in reality.
Mikio Sakabe’s “Save Point” has the crystal theme from Final Fantasy running on an endless loop as background music.
Writtenafterwards gives us a space shuttle made from a giant wooden loom shuttle (all will become clear later this month…).
Awards for subtlety.
The gift shop is in itself is a work curated by Jenny Fax.
And it featured some fun new work from Nakano Ropeway and even very rare pieces from WrittenAfterwards – the clothes pegs do very well on auction sites.
Rounding things off is an inspiration board best seen after you have seen all of the exhibits as it fills in some of the blanks if you take your time and explore it. All the clues are there, you just need to engage with it to piece them together.
In true chaotic style the exhibition space itself is also in a state of flux, entering into a “dead” stage early this week where the exhibits are decimated before being reborn on the 10th rejuvenated and with some additions and substitutions. Add to that fashion shows from the producers on the 12th and 13th, talk shows and events and this is one celebration of Japanese fashion you don’t want to miss out on. You can see up to date information on it here and stand by for my complete coverage of the designers and shows in due course.