As a fashion professional, there is some disturbing data out there that cannot be ignored. In Japan, the peak year for the highest number of fashion students in here was in 1985. After that, the numbers just get worse and worse. While in 1985 there were at least 500,000 students studying fashion, in 2015 there were only 30% of those numbers at about 150,000. If numbers keep going in that direction, then in 20 years there will only be 5000 students studying fashion in Japan (1/10 of the peak period).
Why? Is it because it’s becoming harder and harder to be successful as a designer, or in any other position in the fashion industry? That simply isn’t true. So then what is it? In fact, other creative fields like beauty, hair, nails, film, graphics, and photography are all also “difficult” fields and yet their number of students are growing. So then… why exactly are students here abandoning the fashion industry?
When we look at the peak era of the 80s, there were so many Japanese brands making splashes overseas in the big market, and high fashion was a dream meant to work hard towards…and it was attainable. Nowadays, high fashion is so far removed from real life (in price, duh) that it’s no wonder students don’t find any real dream in it to work towards.
Senken Newspaper sent out surveys to students, asking about the brands they buy, and No. 1 was ZARA, followed by GU and H&M, seeing fast fashion brands take all the top spots. Cult favorite and home-grown legend Comme Des Garcons used to be the “goal” of all students and young workers in the fashion industry… and it just eeked in at number 10. Senken also asked the same students their favorite brands (even if they don’t buy them) and the results: What Comme des Garcons had always held onto was replaced by ZARA at number 1.
“I *WANT* to create high fashion, but I can’t find anyone to buy or wear it!” is probably the number one factor for losing hope in high fashion in Japan.
And that’s where I was delighted to learn about Spring of Fashion, a new Japan-based online portal for budding designers and creators to present their work to potential clients and shoppers. Not unlike Not Just a Label, it’s become a place where young innovators have swarmed to, with hundreds of Avantgarde or fashion forward designs to sift through.
Right now there are at least 10,000 subscribers, all of them Japanese designers or designers based in or who studied in Japan. So upon inspection, you’ll notice how it reflects the mood here taken to the extreme, from street style to designs comparable to Comme des Garcons. Ever since discovering it, I’ve been in contact with some amazing young designers, getting in touch with them and noting my favorites for future projects.
そういえば、SoF名 は”アラブの春”に由来している。この民主化運動ではソーシャルメディアが反乱にさらに拍車をかけた。その”アラブの春”のように、自分たちの居場所をつ かみ取るという意味が込められている。SoFのレイアウトは、ソーシャルメディア向けになっていて、まさにインスタのような感じ。Not Just a Labelはポートフォリオみたいだけど、SoFはちょっと違って、インスタ風に気軽に見れる。
It’s this site goes well, then it would be a boon for independent designers here. Perhaps it could be a catalyst for a small revolution? Small revolutions have begat larger revolutions.
In fact, the name comes from the Arab Spring, the event in which social media spurred an uprising in the Middle East. With that in mind, Spring of Fashion adopts a social media-ready layout much like Instagram. While Not Just a Label is like a portfolio, SoF would be an unassuming quick look. The only “that’s a shame” is that it’s only in Japanese still (but coming in English soon).
It’s a great resource for looking up some wild designs and learning about new designers in Japan (although I like to think this blog and my Instagram also strives to do that well too!). Some of the designers even offer many of the designs to sell, which means it could possibly be the most unique select shop on the planet. There are many people who use fashion to express themselves, and in those cases a cookie-cutter factory made item in a shop just isn’t gonna cut it. For those people, this is a great site to check out. And if you’re an independent designer looking for clients then it wouldn’t hurt to try it out.