What is ugliness? What is ugly fashion? Ugly is becoming more and more a mass-accepted form of attractiveness, especially in Japan.
One of my absolute favorite new brands from Tokyo is this young but very “dark” horse, Kotoha Yokozawa (stylized as kotohayokozawa). The 2017 SS collection is called “It’s hard to stay peaceful. I am wearing everything I couldn’t finish on a nothing-special kind of day.”
Well. Even if she couldn’t finish it all, (and that theme comes out in the clothing design) the collection was so interesting, cool, feminine, and very risky. It’s part of a group of young designers, all who graduated from Coconogacco, one of the most interesting fashion schools in Japan, and it’s also part of a “imperfect is best” movement of fashion design.
Sadness, loneliness, longing, backstabbing, doubt… sometimes there are products of fashion and art, created from these supposed “negative” traits. Then there are times when these feelings create a chain reaction… the easiest example is spontaneous shopping (or binge eating, I suppose!).
Because you were dumped. Because you messed up at work. Because you did *something* wrong. When that sort of shopping motivation arises, we become like starved hunters, desperately searching for anything to procure. But even in this sort of wild game, meeting the perfect product is still important… and even when circling the department store with your bow and arrow, you can end up catching the perfect thing.
And this is what happened when I met Somnium. In a crazed, “must get SOMETHING” moment, I ended up with the coolest new brand in my rolodex of love.
Ring-a-Round-o’ Rosies, バラの花輪だ、手をつなごう A pocket full of posies, ポケットは花束でいっぱいにして Ashes! Ashes! ハックション！ハックション！ We all fall down. みいんなでころぼ。
Ring a Round o Rosies (RRR)も例外ではなくて、実は死を象徴するような意味が隠されていると言われているのだ。イギリスを始めヨーロッパでは、ヨーロッパ全人口の約3割を死亡させたという「ペスト(black death)」が大流行したという歴史がある。この曲はそれについて歌っていて、バラはペストの赤い斑点症状、花束はペスト予防のハーブ、そしてくしゃみはペストの初期症状を意味しているとのこと。
Ring-a-Round-o’ Rosies, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.
It’s a children’s song and rhyme that anyone from Western cultures knows. Children hold hand and sing while moving in a circle. In Japan, they have “kagome, kagome” and “hana ichimonme”. Variations of “Ring around the rosie” is said to have been inspired by the Black Death and The Great Plague in London (the rash that signifies the Plague was a pink ring on the skin, and people filled their pockets with flowers as they thought it would help to ward the sickness off). The Plague took 30% of Europe’s population, in a swift sweep of death.
Writtenafterwards’ 2017 SS collection was filled with appliques of pretty flowers on white, transparent organdy. On the floor of the gallery space was a ring of plastic flowers in yellow, red and blue. And the “main” piece of the collection was a round dress with no armholes, with flower appliques around the edges. Tucked inside some pockets were tiny satchels. Was there any doubt? It HAD to be about the song and the Black Death. This is avantgarde brand Writtenafterwards we’re talking about. Right? RIGHT??!
今ではすっかり、ユニクロといえば”機能性”というイメージが出来上がっているが、もはや機能性が高いからといって単純でシンプルな服ばかりというわけではない。ブランドDNA事態自体は多くのラインから作られていて、たとえば人気のイノベーティブ系(エアリズムやユニクロスポーツ)や、クリエイティブ系(Ines de la FressangeやUT)など。それから、ユニクロがプレミアムデニムの研究をしているとか、NYの美術館MOMAとコラボしてるなんて初耳だった。そこで、奥の深いユニクロというブランドについて、先月東京で開かれた巨大な展示会にもお邪魔して、そのDNAリサーチしてきたのでみなさんにシェアしたい。つまり、いったいどれぐらいコラボを今はたしているか、どんな風に生地の機能性を上げているか、「ベーシックな服だからユニクロのコレクションをレポートしない」のを敢えて徹底的にレポートします。世界的ブランドなのに、SS 2017年の展示会をするのはここ東京で１日だけ。スペシャルな瞬間をおすそわけです。(自分が想像した以上に大規模なブランドのため、展示会から少し間が空いてしまい、時間かかったのですが、こっち発のブランドとして誇りを持っていただき、そしてこの情報を活用させていただければ、と思っております）。では、ライフウェアのツアーを始めましょう！
Recently, on a trip to Berlin the airline lost my bag. It had all of my basic items in it, leaving me in the German chill with just my airplane clothes and souvenirs I`d brought. As soon as I got into the city, I went to the only place I wanted to go to get what I needed and would want to use when I got back to Tokyo, getting underwear, a warm sweater, scarf, jeans and pajamas. Of course, I went to Uniqlo.
Uniqlo calls it’s clothing LifeWear. When the brand debuted this “LifeWear” moniker a couple years ago, it was understandably mistaken to be a separate collection by me and many others. But, it simply refers to Uniqlo clothing as a whole, encompassing all of the smaller lines and collaborations within it. I imagine the brand asserts this LifeWear concept so strongly, so as to draw a line separating it from fast fashion. “This is not fast wear, this is life wear,” they deem to say.
The brand has become synonymous with “functional wardrobe” but it goes beyond being a few basic pieces. The brand’s DNA is made of a matrix of lines, some that come from an innovative stance (like AIRism, and Uniqlo Sports) and others that come from a creative stance (Like Ines de la Fressange and the UT t-shirts) that certainly take a little bit of digging to grasp. For example, did you know Uniqlo has a new denim laboratory? Or that it is collaborating with the MoMA in NYC? No? Well, I’ve done the research for you, at their massive 2017 spring/summer exhibition held in Tokyo last month. Because it’s considered a “basic” brand, no one really bothers to talk about its new collections. Well since I`m a rebel and a workaholic, I`ve set out to decode the DNA here for you. Despite being a global brand, Uniqlo only holds their press exhibitions in Tokyo for one day, so getting a peek at what is to come for SS 2017 is quite special.
(this brand is SO much bigger than I first expected, so bear with me as we tour through it all)
“Do I dream very much? Do I dream predominantly about fashion? No. I dream much more about cats.”
This is a quote from the much beloved and 25-year veteran fashion editor of VOGUE, Ms. Coddington. As a professional, of course she was madly passionate about her job, but she said that there were three things that fulfilled her life: the color black, wine, and cats.
Along with being one of the smartest and wittiest women in the industry, she is also muveil’s 2017 spring summer collection muse (but unofficially, so let’s keep it between you and me). It’s a collection filled with whimsical details of the things she loves like wine and of course, cats.
For a certain generation of Japanese, a “trip abroad” very certainly meant a jaunt to New York, Paris, or some other big-name city. The main goal for a vacation to these glitzy locations was for one thing; shopping. At that time, shopping abroad was undoubtedly cheaper than shopping at home, and tasting the local cuisine was the epitome of jet set modernity. You can certainly relate to the tourists in Tokyo who are going through the same joys of discovery.
But as for the reasons we travel now? Of course for the fashion fans among us we love to shop, but more than that, it’s about experiences. So then the popular locales go beyond the US or Europe, reaching to far flung places like the depths of Asia or Africa. In fact, with the rise of SNS and the thrill that comes with posting such vacay photos online, it becomes a source of pride showing places that are beyond the norm. (PSA: don’t mess up the flora and fauna mmkay?).
For rising star Akane Utsunomiya’s SS 2017 collection, she took inspiration from an African adventure. Although actually traveling abroad is the most ideal option, putting on an outfit and daydreaming about it is a fashion fan’s own idea of a thrill.
Even more than fashion (and much to my chagrin), Japanese food has blown up in popularity around the world. And more than just a fad, the wonders of “washoku” have enlivened the daily food routines of people across the globe. And as more and more Japanese washoku restaurants open up, people become privy to the custom of presentation and delicious “heaping” on the plate.
At the Milan World Fair, it was said that people waited for more than 10 hours to get inside the Japan Tent, and while technology and art is certainly a pull, being promised a chance to taste real Japanese cuisine was surely a huge selling point for cuisine aficionados like the Italians are.
Quantize is a Fukuoka-based brand born from the minds of two creative and savvy women, one a designer and the other an events and business organizer. For their 2017 SS collection, they took to the tables to create an intriguing cuisine-inspired collection, with a surprising twist.
It goes without saying that with days packed full of fashion shows and writing up reports, Fashion Week is B-U-S-Y. But even so, there are many brands that opt for exhibitions instead of throwing a lavish runway presentation, and many of them are brands that I support and want to keep up with. So then it becomes a mad rush to get to the location, even if the tight schedule means that the actual time I can spend in one is just 5 minutes. Peeping in and giving that “hello!” is just as valuable as all the time in the world.
And going into one brand’s exhibit, often means another will be exhibiting in the same space. And this is how I can come into contact with so many new, interesting brands. And today, I`ll be introducing you to a fun brand I recently got to know, 9BijouxCloud.