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Tokyo fashion: pulling power of fashion in this dynamic city of creativity

Tokyo fashion: pulling power of fashion in this dynamic city of creativity

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

6%DOKIDOKI

Tokyo is one of the most powerful cities in the world and the fashion scene continues to flourish and grow.  Also, the international appeal of Tokyo is making major waves because more and more international musicians desire to be linked to this ultra-modern city.

At the same time animation, kawaii culture, cosplay, and a host of other vibrant areas, are rebranding the image of Tokyo because many young people from all over the world are connecting with the “soft power” of Japan.  Therefore, Tokyo and other major cities like Osaka are helping to create “a hip Japan” which appeals to the younger generation.

However, despite the ultra-modern reality of Tokyo and other powerful cities the “old Japan” still survives. Therefore, places like Hakone, Koyasan, Kyoto, Nikko, and a host of other famous places, means that Japan provides something special because of multiple factors and the appeal applies to all generations.

When it comes to fashion then Tokyo is second to none when it applies to choice, exquisite quality, individualism, mainstream fashion and creativity.  Therefore, all major international fashion houses want a slice of the Tokyo “apple pie” and this applies to other powerful cities like Osaka.

Clearly Milan, Paris, New York and London are internationally famous but the same also applies to Tokyo.  However, the beauty of fashion in Tokyo is that indigenous fashion companies and international companies are based throughout the city. 

Therefore, you are spoilt for choice and this applies to major fashion districts like Aoyama, Harajuku, Omotesando, Ginza, Shibuya Shinjuku, Roppongi Hills and other fashion districts like Ikebukuro and Ebisu. Alternatively, you have an abundance of fashion in smaller districts of Tokyo and Daikanyama, Kichijoji, Jiyugaoka, Nakano, Shimo Kitazawa, Naka Meguro and other places provide a more distinctive vibe and each area appeals for different factors.  This, therefore, makes Tokyo unique because you have countless areas to visit and other parts of Tokyo like Ueno have their own distinctive feel and energy.

This reality is attracting major musicians to Tokyo and further afield in Japan. Michael Graham, in his article called Japan and the international music industry highlights this reality. 

Michael Graham states that “From Lady Gaga to Kanye West, there are not many modern pop artists that haven’t done “the Japan thing”. This says a lot about how Japan is perceived to the rest of the world. It’s modern, it’s cool, and it’s fun. If you are trying to show your fans that you are the newest biggest thing then you cannot go wrong with including Japanese style in your video’s and why not?”

“Japan not only brings us some of the latest fashion, technology and art but its music industry is one of the most sophisticated and cutting edge in the world.”

Michael Graham continues by stating that “This trend in music and Japan continues to be ever more present in modern music and does not show any signs of going away. You can look back at earlier artists such as Gwen Stefani because her music videos were covered in Japanese art and style. Gwen Stefani even brought out a clothing range inspired by Japanese clothing and her backing dancers were the Harajuku Girls. Therefore she could not have been anymore Japanese if she had tried.”

“The list seems to be endless of videos or artists that use Japan for style and image and it looks set to continue. I for one cannot get enough of it!”

Therefore, the fashion scene in Tokyo is very potent and the same applies to modern Japanese culture which is making headway internationally and other famous musicians like Courtney Love simply adore Tokyo fashion. 

Aoyama and Omotesando provide sophisticated fashion and both places are full of chic and style because you have endless exquisite boutiques to visit.  At the same time, it is clear that architecture is important and this provides the icing on top of the cake because you can feel the passion, creativity and the buildings match the crème de la crème fashion which is provided by both international and Japanese fashion companies in these two districts of Tokyo.

In Aoyama alone you will find many panache and exquisite fashion companies and this applies to Comme des Garcons, 10 Corso Como, L’eclaireur, Prada, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Artisan, Loveless, Stella McCartney, Mark Jacobs, Bathing Ape, Tsumori Chisato, Diane Von Furstenberg, Undercover, Design Works, Frapbois, and many others like Deuxieme Classe.

The energy of exquisite fashion and individualistic fashion designers can be felt through the entire area which links Aoyama, Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya.  In many ways Omotesando represents all the beauty of this area because it links high quality fashion companies with independent and stylish boutiques and in the backstreets you can find “street fashion.” 

Harajuku and Shibuya are global names for the younger international generation and like Michael Graham commented Gwen Stefani was inspired by Japan and her backing dancers were called the Harajuku Girls. Harajuku, therefore, is a major pulling power and the name sells itself.

The independent nature and creative spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI means that the culture of Tokyo is influencing the younger generation in cities like London, Paris, New York and a host of other major cities. Therefore, kawaii culture, cosplay, Dolly-kei, fantasy fashion, Visual kei, Lolita and other trends are changing the image of Japan and independent companies like 6%DOKIDOKI, Grimoire, Macaronic, Candy and others are spreading a unique and distinctive fashion scene.

Internationally famous designers like Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto provided a strong image for Japanese fashion and their energy was noticeable in the 1980s and onwards.  Yet younger designers and famous individuals are changing the evolving fashion scene and Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Sebastian Masuda, Rei Kawakubo, Nobu Kitamura, Junya Watanabe, Takashi Aoki, Tsumori Chisato, Yoshie Itabashi, Kuniko Kato, Chiharu Kikuchi, and others, are all maintaining the freshness of fashion in Japan alongside companies like Grimoire and Candy.

Fashion is not about famous individuals it is about new vibes, new trends, keeping a fresh outlook and not remaining static.  Therefore, Issey Miyake, Sebastian Masuda, Yohji Yamamoto, Takashi Aoki, and other fantastic designers add their own individual spark and energy. This spark in turn reaches far and wide and continues to draw in new designers who constantly maintain the freshness of fashion in Japan. Also, every so often unique designers emerge like Sebastian Masuda and they come along and bring a new angle and edge and each individual designer compliments the entire fashion industry.

Sebastian Masuda

6%DOKIDOKI, Candy, Grimoire, Macaronic, Metamorphose temps de fille, Alice and the Pirates, and other unique fashion companies are maintaining a bright spark. This energy can be felt internationally because the energetic vibe that they are creating is enabling Tokyo fashion to reach out to the international community.

Nobu Kitamura and Gwen Stefani sum up the nature of fashion because while Nobu Kitamura and Hysteric Glamour was influenced heavily by American culture.  The singer Gwen Stefani is fascinated by Japanese culture and in her song she sang “My boyfriend bought me a Hysteric Glamour shirt. They’re hard to find in the States, got me feeling couture.”

The influence of cross cultural fashion and unique fashion companies can be found throughout Tokyo.  Therefore, irrespective if you are an avid fan of Tracy Reese, Hysteric Glamour, Prada, SmackyGlam, Grimoire, Metamorphose temps de fille, 6%Dokidoki, Comme des Garcons, Macaronic, Alice and the Pirates, 10 Corso Como, L’eclaireur, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Candy, Artisan, Loveless, Stella McCartney, Mark Jacobs, Bathing Ape and many other amazing fashion companies, the simple fact is that you have choice in abundance in Tokyo.

In another article I wrote about fashion I stated that “Kawaii culture in Tokyo goes back several decades but this unique style which belongs to Japan continues to develop and modify.  6%DOKIDOKI is part and parcel of kawaii culture and the ongoing vibrancy of this unique style. However, Sebastian Masuda does not pertain to any single style because he is a creator and styles come from 6%DOKIDOKI.  Therefore, Sebastian Masuda is not a follower of fashion but he is a rare creator of fashion and styles.”

Therefore, it matters not what the fashion label is because fashion for some companies can never be fully pinned down because they are always evolving.

Tokyo is set to continue and prosper in the fashion sector and the international image will also grow because of the vibrant nature of modern Japan. Therefore, the magnet of Tokyo will continue to attract younger generations from all over the world who love fashion and this dynamic and creative city will continue to lead and inspire.

http://www.dokidoki6.com/  (6%DOKIDOKI website)

http://www.metrocity.nl/tokyo/streetfashion/harajuku-fashion/  

http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/  (Sebastian Masuda – also, please read about the Mighty Harajuku Project)

http://candy-nippon.com/

http://www.maruione.jp/en/  

http://yaplog.jp/grimoire-blog/

http://www.smackyglam.com/  

http://tokyofashion.com/

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/shops-restaurants/index.html

http://6girls.jugem.jp/  

http://www.laforet.ne.jp/floor_guide/floor_1f_e.html

http://www.lov-lab.com/

http://tokyofashion.com/6dokidoki-world-tour-harajuku-kawaii-experience/  (Many images of 6%DOKIDOKI)

http://www.tracyreese.com/c-45-dresses.aspx  

http://sanyo-i.jp  – Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

http://www.macaronic.jp/   

http://tokyofashion.com/candy-sister-fashion-shibuya/  

leejay@modernttokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Japan

 

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Hatsune Miku is the perfect girlfriend! Reality or unreality?

Hatsune Miku is the perfect girlfriend!  Reality or unreality?

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

In Japan it is sometimes difficult to understand the concept of life and death in a nation where more than 30,000 people kill themselves a year.  Yes, despite the brutality of the March 11 earthquake which unleashed the tsunami and which swept away so many people; the sad reality is that more people will kill themselves this year in Japan than the devastating tsunami. 

Alongside this brutal reality is hikikomori which is a real social problem because many people want to hide away from the outside world.  Hikikomori and suicide may be small when we think about the population of Japan and both problems can be overly dramatized but something is going wrong?

After all, 300,000 plus people killing themselves every ten years is serious and the same applies to people who desire to withdraw from society.  Therefore, if you understand aspects of Japanese culture and this also applies to sexless couples, otaku, huge social pressure because of long working hours then Hatsune Miku does make sense.

Of course many females also commit suicide and get hikikomori but males outnumber females and around 70% of all suicides are done by men.  It is even suggested that the number of suicides is higher because definitions vary but the government acknowledges that over 30,000 people kill themselves every year.

One interesting fact is that while people with hikikomori withdraw themselves from society they still interact but through the internet.  Indeed, for many people with hikikomori it is clear that they enjoy anime, comics, video games and the internet.

Often in Tokyo you will see young men and ladies with small teddies attached and sometimes people who are much older.  Therefore, immaturity, the power of anime, high technology, hikikomori, high percentage of sexless couples, the stresses of conformity, strong social pressures, otaku, cosplay, maid cafes, Hello Kitty, hentai anime, and other areas of society, is clearly catering for Hatsune Miku to become the perfect girlfriend.

This does not imply that anime is negative because it certainly isn’t and I really like Japanese anime and this applies to Ghost In The Shell and many other high quality anime which is made in Japan.

However, for a minority of people the world of reality and unreality is difficult to define and this is why Hatsune Miku is so popular.  Therefore, when you think about all the inner-social problems in Japan and how society and younger men appear to becoming more feminine then a perfect girlfriend which isn’t human is appealing and understandable.

It must be stated that in Japan it is factual that young ladies are desired and the pop culture caters for teenage girls dressing sexily and so forth. Therefore, aspects of anime and manga do have sexual overtures and hentai manga is big business in Japan.

Hatsune Miku unlike any other figure in the history of anime crosses the world of reality and unreality.  Also, Hatsune Miku is extremely cute and her persona changes for the individual who adores her. 

Therefore, the digital avatar is creating a sensation and the popularity of Hatsune Miku is growing.  The lovely eyes and pony tails appeal and unlike a real girlfriend you have no arguments or wasted time and given the social pressures in Japan then this in itself is a winner.

The fan base of Hatsune Miku runs into the millions and major companies like Toyota want to join the bandwagon because of the marketability of “adorable Miku.”

Given my reality I might join the club!

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2011 in Japan

 

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Reni Mimura: Japanese cosplay in New York

Reni Mimura: Japanese cosplay in New York

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Reni Mimura was born in Japan and since an early age dancing was a way of life for her.  In Tokyo, and other big cities like Osaka, cosplay began to take off and this is where Reni Mimura found her niche or indeed “found herself.”

In 2008 Reni Mimura decided to relocate to New York in America and clearly the choice was a wise one because internationally the cosplay culture is finding a place within many nations. 

The fusion of cosplay, animation, moe, and elements of the otaku culture, is fascinating many people and different performing artists will be focused on areas within these complimentary aspects of modern Japanese culture.

In a world where violence is often the norm through the images of the media and where certain music scenes are focused on power, strength, and masculine images; moe artists and cosplay is a million miles away and the gentle nature and dream world co-exists within this scene. 

Reni Mimura certainly blends in with the “cute look” of “kawaii (cute) culture and given the power of animation in Japan then this fusion alongside cosplay appears to be natural.  Not only this, it is abundantly clear that kawaii culture is marketable and it generates vast economic profits.

From the 1970s onwards the kawaii image became potent and Hello Kitty had a mass appeal in Japan.  Seiko Matsuda was also instrumental in the image of “innocence of young girls” and the fashion it generated.

Reni Mimura therefore entered a world which had become fashionable in places like Akihabara in Tokyo and kawaii culture and market forces were also well known.  Added to the images of animation, which expresses big eyes and other distinguishing features; then the way was clear for a talented individual like Reni Mimura to take this across to America and the international community.

Reni Mimura released her initial CD in 2006 and once she decided to relocate to America in 2008 then the picture became more global.  Also, by being based in New York then the powerful forces of Tokyo and New York were bound to help such a talented individual who appears to have a clear direction and dream.

Her book, “Maid in NY” was a clever title because the maids of Akihabara in Tokyo are famous and the name New York sells because of the cultural power of this city.

Reni Mimura stated that “Sometimes I like to be a Japanese office lady by wearing a suite with my hair up. Wearing chequered pants with handcuffs and chains makes a girl with Rock style. Wearing a light pink dress with a frill makes Reni Lolita style. Every day I would like to be different. Cosplay is my life!”

Onstage it is clear that her fans appreciate her enormous energy and this applies to her dancing style, movement, natural interaction, and a voice to match all these fine qualities.

Reni Mimura also stated Cosplay can transform you into a different personality. For example, if you are shy, it can help you speak to others more easily. We can have a lot of fun with it and make people happy at the same time. I think this is a very futuristic thing to do. It’s like a game!”

It is clear that this lady is taking aspects of Akihabara culture to New York and to a wider international audience.  Her image is also good for Japan because Japan’s “soft power” and modern cultural is now spreading to regional nations like China and South Korea, and throughout the world.

www.renireni.com/

http://www.j-popworld.com/Interviews/Reni_Mimura.php

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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