This designer influence is less about a single design than an entire collective feeling and aesthetic.
Japanese designers like Miyake and Rei had been making a name for themselves and Japanese style for many years.
Then we started to hear more about how the kids in Japan wore wacky outrageous clothes.
When the photos emerged it was a hyper colour mix of traditional Japanese mixed with Manga, fantasy and fashion. There were groups and sub groups and elements that identified you with this character or that music style. It was it’s very own visual language that moved and morphed with all the influences they were collecting.
The first time I was in Tokyo and got to see it for myself I was blown away. Within 50 square metres there were b’boys practising their dancing, a group of what appeared to be gothic clowns, some mow hawked punks with a strong American Indian aesthetic, Lolita’s, skaters, BMXers, bikies on super tricked out Motorbikes that were all chrome and bling. Then above it all there was a band performing that we’re doing some serious channeling of early Mick Jagger.
It was overwhelming but also so great to see so many people taking fashion and interpreting it in different ways. I’m sure some of them went home and wiped off the make up and put on a suit and went to work Monday to Friday. But the fact that they had this ultra creative release had this almost transformative power.
Each time I have been to Japan the scene has changed and each time it seems as if the Japanese can create looks which translate across so many levels of fashion and that eventually trickle across to influence the entire globe. The last time I was in Tokyo was not long after the devastating Tsunami. The streetwear was more subdued, there was less of the CosPlay type elements and more stores like The Gap and Zara (it seemed like very street had a Zara). I hope that these influences are temporary and they don’t take on the homogeneous looks of The West. Hopefully in time as the country heals it will show a re emergence of their unique blend and character and once again they will show the world how to embrace genres and style.