There are several great thought questions about perception. i.e. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” “If there is no one to observe it, does the moon exist?”And my favorite, “Is a blogger who doesn’t blog still a blogger?”
I have been trying to get to writing this article for what seems like a lifetime in the digital era. A few days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Of course, I will make many excuses for the absence, because truthfully, there were many; an evolution of career, a reevaluation of lifestyle and health, changes in the fashion industry as well as changes in what it means to be a blogger.
In terms of fashion styles, the current trend of lace-y things has been super hot for the past few years. But as for delicate things adorned with lace and embroidery and sparkles, well, that kind of fashion has been around for hundreds of years. And each icon or era brings its own style of “lingerie looks” to the table. It goes to show that in fashion, there really aren’t any rules, and we are free to wear our clothing in any way we please. That goes for wearing lingerie layered with other clothing, too.
One of the biggest icons for wearing lingerie as outerwear that sticks out in my mind is Madonna. When she burst on stage wearing corsets as tops, both intricate and simple, it became a huge trend for the modern day. A corset had for long been nothing more than a bridal thing, but now people wear bustiers and corsets as an accessory or design fashion pieces to look as if they are laced up.
One of the most important skills to have as a leader in a creative industry is the ability to create and cultivate a signature style. Whether a person is an author, music producer, graphic designer, painter or stylist, the people with a recognizable style gains them more attention and notoriety. It’s especially true of fashion, the most visual medium of all. From Steve Jobs’ black turtlenecks to Anna Wintour’s bob, these people had unwavering style and will go down in history with it.
But what about the rest of us? Finding one’s own distinct personal style is already incredibly hard. Not everyone has the eye to find the type of clothing that will speak for them so they don’t have to. Personal style can become a comfort in an uncomfortable world, a billboard for your creativity, an armor for your own insecurity, and sometimes it’s an unrelenting captor (stockholm syndrome, for real). I struggled with the fear of changing my personal style, and it was an ongoing battle within myself for the past year or so. I’d like to talk here about what personal style is, how to find it, and the trauma & breakthrough that comes with tearing off the skin of “personal style”.
Ask any fashion industry professional or even just a fashion fan and everyone will tell you that fashion is really in a strange place right now; the seasons are all over the place, the designers are all over the place, trends and copycats are all over the place, and consumers are burnt out and frustrated. Young designers are in a state of perpetual stagnation. Prices for designer and luxury fashion keeps skyrocketing. Even people who have some money to spend can’t get the things they want.
As both a fashion professional and fashion obsessee myself, I find I am often disappointed or even annoyed at the industry’s inability to fix itself. But there are a few things that I have noticed and that I have been mulling over, and I suppose now is a better time than never to put it out into the universe. Perhaps the universe will throw a bone back.
I`ve been thinking about three points in particular:
The state of design
The state of consumers and prices
The state of distribution
Being in Japan, I can pretty much only speak for Tokyo, but it’s not all specific to this region. Especially this first point that I want to discuss: the state of design.
Berlin Alternative Fashion Week (BAFW) は私の経験上、世界一エキゾチックで、奇想天外で、ワイルドで、カラフルで、開放的で、クレイジーで、クリエイティブなファッションイベントのひとつ。そしてスクロールした先に並ぶ写真をみたら、みなさんの私と同じことを感じるのではないかと思う。
We all know that fashion trends come from both the high-fashion runways as well as the streets. But the street aspect is gaining more ground against the establishment, and it is becoming more daring, cultured and respected. So doesn’t it make sense to have a fashion week that features some of the most unique street-wear brands from around the world? It’s called an “Alternative” fashion week, and it was born in the best city to represent street fashion: Berlin.
Berlin Alternative Fashion Week (BAFW) is one of the most exotic, surprising, wild, weird, colorful, inclusive and creative fashion events I have ever seen in my life. And after you see the photos from the event, you might feel the same way too.
Could it be? Is Harajuku becoming …. *whispers* uncool?
Since the 1970s the area has been THE epicenter of new trends and fashion icons in Japan and undoubtedly boasts the most unique shopping anywhere in the world today. Lolita, goth, decora, kawaii, hiphop, neo, otaku, vintage and schoolgirl, it is a veritable wonderland of subculture and chaos all blended into one scrumptious parfait. But then gentrification happened, and that parfait is melting into an unfashionable mess.
Calling it uncool is really unfair to the long history the area has endured, as well as my own affinity and memories attached to it. But what is even more unfair is letting it go and handing it off to the highest bidder. I`m talking about chain stores and fast fashion and shopping mall developers and rude tourists. Harajuku has survived both in part to foreign investment (aka tourist shopping and global chain stores) but is also becoming gentrified because of it.
During Tokyo Fashion Week in Oct., I couldn’t help but noticing; many of the fashion girls around me had tossed the pastel or blonde hair styles for one: the little black bob. To name a few names, Mademoiselle Yulia, Matsuyou, and of course there’s always been Mappy and Erika Gold. It’s part of a growing trend of girls in Japan who are going back to their roots, and making “wa” or modern “yamato nadeshiko” one of the coolest styles around.
Yamato-Nadeshiko is a very outdated term, but means “ideal Japanese woman”…usually very natural looking, demure, humble, good at cooking and homemaking etc. But it’s not about being demure or quiet, because this very “Japanese” style is all about being strong, cool and unique. It’s the modern yamato-nadeshiko, and it’s one of the best trends I’ve seen in Japan in the last decade.
So you have an interest in fashion, or you like to wear trendy clothes, or like to go shopping.
But are you still confused about some things or terms that pop up all the time when talking about fashion? For example, can you describe what “fashion week” means? In fact, even some people who work in fashion don’t even know the absolute basics of fashion. For example, I`ve heard this strange explanation of “Fashion Week” from some people throughout my career:
“Fashion Week is when the brands travel to different cities and put on a show in each one, right?”
This isn’t correct, but I can completely understand that that’s how it may seem from the outside.
It happens to all of us. I really love architecture and music, but I don’t know all of their special terms. I had to stop someone mid-conversation to ask what “brutalist architecture” meant (note: I thought it was when you went inside, it crumbled around you like a deathtrap. Maybe I was imagining Fatalist Architecture?). And I only recently learned what the “EP” in an “EP album” in music meant (It means a mini album! Wow!).
So here is a list of super basic fashion terms as well as some that are super important to getting fashion from a designer’s brain and into your closet. Like “toile”, and “Premiere Vision”.
This list could get really long so I just picked my favorites, but if you are curious about a fashion term or have one to add, then let me know by twitter or facebook or or telepathy, or you could just comment if that’s how you roll.