Tokyo Fashion Week sheds light on homegrown talent

After successive seasons of canceled shows and virtual presentations, mostly in-person Tokyo Fashion Week is back in a blur of vibrant palettes, digital innovation and catwalk sculptural creations.

Featuring 54 brands and 30 physical storefronts, the Fall/Winter 2022 event marked an optimistic return to form and the largest attendance since the start of the pandemic.

Designer Tomo Koizumi, whose extravagant creations went viral after being shown at New York Fashion Week in 2019 and most recently at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics, unveiled it in his home country, with Japanese celebrities among those modeling for him. creations.

With his intimate red carpet-themed show at the Tokyo’s Edition Hotel, Koizumi expanded his repertoire of sculpted ball gowns with a ruffled suit worn by a transgender model and actor. Satsuki Nakayamaand a red jumpsuit giant cream skirtmodeled by actor and former pop star Yuko Oshima.

“It was difficult to make and achieve,” Koizumi said of his collection, adding that he thought it could open up “new possibilities” and that he hoped to dress more Japanese stars in the future.

Tomo Koizumi supported Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo’s “by R” initiative, which supports Japanese fashion brands. “I think having your own brand identity is more important than chasing trends,” he said of young designers. “You have to try to create trends.” Credit: Contributed by Tomo Koizumi

Some designers have taken advantage of the long-awaited return of the wider public to showcase their creations in new and unexpected ways. Punk-inspired label Kidill staged a live concert (pictured above), dressing up indie band Psysalia Hito in heavily colored dresses and plaid. Meanwhile, Yoshio Kubo, who the organizers dubbed the “NFT presentation”, presented his sculptural work as an exhibition, with models dressed in monochrome creations puffed up in extravagant puffy dresses. These pieces were inspired by digital fashion, Kubo told CNN, where the possibilities are endless. “I used air to make (things) big. When (those present) looked at the collection, they thought that the clothes were really fake.”

Kidill's creations were worn by the Japanese rock band Psysalia Hito who performed live at their show, with the band's guitarist wearing the dress above.

Kidill’s creations were worn by the Japanese rock band Psysalia Hito who performed live at their show, with the band’s guitarist wearing the dress above. Credit: Courtesy of Kidill

Yoshio Kubo, who founded his label in 2004, has taken inspiration from traditional Japanese kites this season as well as digital fashion.

Yoshio Kubo, who founded his label in 2004, has taken inspiration from traditional Japanese kites this season as well as digital fashion. Credit: Contributed by Yoshio Kubo

Covid-19 still hung over the event, with attendees required to wear masks and capacity limited to 200 to 250 people per show, less than a third of pre-pandemic levels. But Kaoru Imajo, one of the directors of the Japan Fashion Week Organization (which oversees the event), said the organizers were “very pleased” with the turnout despite the absence of overseas buyers and international editors.

“We have amazing designers and international designers are putting on shows,” Imaggio said via video link. “But we wish we had more guests.”

Designer support

While Covid-19 has created significant challenges, event organizers have also benefited from travel restrictions. Some of the most famous local brands, which are usually exhibited abroad, decided to take part in Tokyo this year.

The event also gave up-and-coming designers like Shun Ishizawa a chance to shine. Ishizawa, who introduced his eponymous label during the event, said the platform allowed him to “share his brand and worldview with more people,” adding that Hokkaido, where he lives, has a smaller fashion chain than Tokyo. Inspired by the rebellious “Yankee” subculture of the 1980s, his collection included wide-leg trousers as well as traditional Japanese iconography, such as daruma doll-print denim jackets.

Cropped denim jackets were paired with wide-leg trousers, a style favored by the subculture.  Ishizawa said that the persecution "male" as well as "elegance" was central to his brand.

Cropped denim jackets were paired with wide-leg trousers, a style favored by the subculture. Ishizawa said that the pursuit of “masculinity” and “elegance” was central to his brand. Credit: Contributed by Maison Shun Ishizawa

Daruma appears wearing a denim jacket by Maison Shun Ishizawa.

Daruma appears wearing a denim jacket by Maison Shun Ishizawa. Credit: Contributed by Maison Shun Ishizawa

While Japanese fashion has a strong global reputation, thanks to brands like Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake, younger and lesser-known brands still go unnoticed internationally, said Imajo, director. He believes the platform provides much-needed exposure, but says more can be done within the industry to help the country’s talent keep up with young Korean and Chinese designers, who he believes are “getting stronger.”

Part of that may be due to the language barrier, he added, stating that Japanese designers “don’t speak very good English” comparatively and can be “shy” as a result, leading to problems communicating with journalists and buyers. “I think Japanese designers have more potential, but they (can’t) show it,” he said.

Tokyo Fashion Award-winning designer Harunobu Murata, whose contemporary take on womenswear this season was exemplified by casually tailored suits and a new interpretation of cloche hats, also sees the need to emphasize the “character of Japanese designers.” He added that events such as Tokyo Fashion Week are central to achieving this goal. “We need to figure out the right value for a Japanese designer, what value we can give to international buyers,” he said during a video call.

“We need to define it. We need to have a clear idea of ​​who we are and what we represent – what only we can do from Japan,” he said.

Below are some of the trends that have hit the catwalks.

Disassembled clothes

This look from Seivson features prominent cutouts.

This look from Seivson features prominent cutouts. Credit: Contributed by Savson

Pillings has introduced a new take on knitwear for its fall/winter collection.

Pillings has introduced a new take on knitwear for its fall/winter collection. Credit: Courtesy of Pillings

Deconstruction was a prominent trend at Tokyo Fashion Week, with brands ripping and combining fabrics to create negative spaces with prominent cutouts. Both the toe and gray cut-out versions of the dress from Taiwanese brand Seivson appeared on the runway (top left). Pillings pushed the boundaries of knitwear with an oversized red sweater with a large neckline and a mix of knit styles. The Nisai collection also played with patchwork, turning the denim shirt into a collection of different hues and frayed edges.

Gender-shifting menswear

Peyen's models appeared in mesh-knit dresses.

Peyen’s models appeared in mesh-knit dresses. Credit: Contributed by Payen

Yellow flowers adorn this look in the Tanaka Daisuke collection.

Yellow flowers adorn this look in the Tanaka Daisuke collection. Credit: Contributed by Tanaka Daisuke

Gender-fluid menswear has also been seen in many collections, in line with the wider conversation about masculinity going on in the fashion industry. Peien featured his male models in mesh knitted dresses, Kidill dressed Psysalia Hito in colorful sequin and ribbon dresses, and Tanaka Daisuke took a softer approach to menswear by sending the model in a floral suit.

loose suit

Base Mark's take on everyday wear.

Base Mark’s take on everyday wear. Credit: courtesy mark

Koizumi's worried look.

Koizumi’s worried look. Credit: Contributed by Tomo Koizumi

Harunobumurata wanted to create a collection that combines elegance.

Harunobumurata wanted to create a collection that combines elegance.

Loose suits have been a recurring trend across the collections as designers swapped out tight cuts for looser silhouettes, perhaps in response to the changing attitudes towards workwear that have taken hold due to the pandemic. Designer Harunobu Murata explained that he was inspired by the “freedom” of Jacques Henri Lartigue’s photography and wanted to create a collection full of “elegance without being too serious”. Base Mark, meanwhile, brought tangerine hues to a casual suit with wide-leg trousers and contrasting shades of blue. Even Koizumi brought his own ruffled blazer to the silhouette, creating a loose-fitting blazer with brightly ruffled lapels.

Sculptural silhouettes

Kubo's collection was scanned and digitally sold as NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Kubo’s collection was scanned and digitally sold as NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Credit: Contributed by Yoshio Kubo

Tiered black CFCL dress.

Tiered black CFCL dress. Credit: Provided by CFCL

Some designers have eschewed everyday wear items, instead creating sculptural outfits that would look like being at home in a museum. Designer Yoshio Kubo’s collection featured giant inflatable boats and this hanging frame with functional turntables. At CFCL, experimental silhouettes gave knitwear a modern twist, as seen in this black dress.

Bright, bold

Non Tokyo created this voluminous hot pink dress with a mesh balaclava.

Non Tokyo created this voluminous hot pink dress with a mesh balaclava. Credit: Courtesy not Tokyo

The Pays des Fees collection featured bright colors and eclectic patterns.

The Pays des Fees collection featured bright colors and eclectic patterns. Credit: Provision of Pays de Fees

Punk looks at Pays des Fees.

Punk looks at Pays des Fees.

While last year’s collections were full of darker “anger and sadness,” according to Imajo, this season more designers expressed joy through vibrant creations. The Pays des Fees show was full of neon bright motifs and patterns. Label designer Lim Asafuji said in an email that her design explores “fantasy in a modern age where electricity and science get in the way of dreaming.” And NonTokyo presented ensembles full of contrasts, such as a pink ball gown, harness and balaclava.

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