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By: Allie McCullogh

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Friday, 25-Mar-2011 18:39 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tokyo People

Tokyoites never seem irritated. They wear their public face (tatemae) when they go out – and that they do a lot – and their private face (honne) on rare occasions in their tiny homes. The two faces play a big role when it comes to fashion. Tatemae comes into effect in the professional world, where Tokyoites want to blend in. There is a strong sense of being only a small part of a greater community. Already at an early age, Japanese become aware of hierarchical structures that are not questioned. Professional attire is the manifestation of the values of tatemae.
http://images.inmagine.com/img/makunouchi/maku046/maku046057.jpg

Honne, the private face, includes expressing emotions that are usually well-hidden in public in Japan. Of course, emotions are not expressed via a specific style in Japan, but when some Japanese go out on private occasions, their clothing can change significantly. Especially the younger generation of people between their teens and their 30s is open to expressive clothes. In fact, some styles might seem over the top to Westerners, even for free time outfits.
Harajuku and Shibuya are the lifelines of young fashionistas and photographers try to capture the signature looks http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/japan_picture/displayimage-2906.html that are born there and have the potential to spread around the globe. The term 'Harajuku girls' is already commonly known and synonymous with an innovative and individual taste in clothing.


Monday, 28-Feb-2011 20:51 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kawaii Style

Kawaii is the Japanese word for 'cute' and cuteness is a pillar of Japanese fashion identity. The cute Hello Kitty http://www.zalando.co.uk/hello-kitty/ brand has become popular around the world already, but in Japan it is popular even among grown-up women. Koda Kumi (Koda is the surname), a very popular Japanese singer has picked up on the Western idea of sexiness and has merged this with the kawaii style to create what is referred to as „erokawa“.
Here is one example of a purely kawaii girl:



http://tokyofashion.com/panama-boy-poncho-care-bears-lunch-box/

The kawaii idea is even manifest in some Western brands and trends, though it is toned down significantly to suit a more modest taste. While other trends like 'kogal' and 'ganguro' seem to copy the Southern California valley girl style, or actually take it to a new extreme, other trends like 'kawaii' , 'gothloli' and 'visual kei' seem to emerge from Japan and influence international trends in subcultures.


Saturday, 26-Feb-2011 21:59 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Japanese Fashion Brands

Onitsuka Tiger http://www.onitsukatiger.com/en-uk, a shoe brand started in Japan the late 1940s, has gained worldwide recognition for its unique and comfortable shoe designs. The brand is easily recognizable due to four signature stripes on each shoe. Since 1977, it has been part of ASICS http://www.zalando.co.uk/asics/ Corporation, but shoes are still sold under the OT label. The shoe designs have become popular among international athletes. In some cases, athletes even wore the shoes when they achieved breakthrough performances or broke records.

Mizuno
http://www.zalando.co.uk/mizuno/ is a another Japanese shoe brand focusing on sports. Professional Athletes from around the world appreciate the exact fit that supports and even enhances their performances, especially in competitions.

Original Japanese fashion brands are very distinguishable and cutting edge, but unfortunately it might take a while before the more outgoing trends catch on in the Western mainstream fashion world. There are some extensive lists on the net and browsing through the different labels with crazy-cool names like 'Baby, The Stars Shine Bright' gives Westerners an idea of an entirely different but enticing world.


photo by Von Mrmya/Mehmet Aktugan on Flickr


Wednesday, 23-Feb-2011 17:25 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Tokyo through the Looking-Glass

The City


Photo: LuisJouJR / Luis Jou García on Flickr

The snow-covered peak of Mt. Fuji shimmers brightly through the skyscraper-scapes of Tokyo Metropolis. The majestic peak seems just a short walk away and looks out of place in the whole scenery of shiny metal and glass. This is not the only contrast in Tokyo. In fact, it lives and breathes contrasts in countless ways. There is the Imperial Palace in the heart of the city, and there is the modern Ginza quarter with its famous shopping street Shibuya. There are love hotels and Hello Kitty purses, office attire and outrageous Tokyo street styles. Mangas, Sake, school uniforms, the Yakuza, etc. Few cities combine so many extremes. In Western cities, these extremes can be straining, but Tokyo manages to achieve a balanced ambiance in which it all makes sense.
This variety of impulses is very fruitful to Toyko fashion. Japanese are crazy for everything fashion-related. Editors-in-chief of Western fashion magazines are worshipped like rockstars. In the Western world, they are famous and influential, but in Japan, their personal style becomes the centre of attention. In Tokyo, nothing is impossible when it comes to clothing and accessories. In general, everything is more colourful and expressive – except for the uniform dark office suits and costumes. In any case, the symbiosis of Tokyo and its fashion trends are noteworthy and tells an enticing story. And so it begins...


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