Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Discuss: Tokyo youth fashion invades Paris! [Updated]

So I am currently online checking out articles for work today, when I stumbled upon this from The Philippine Star's website, PhilStar. I know that Japan has belatedly realised that its fashion is very marketable worldwide, and that its brands have trouble finding a larger, more lucrative (read: international) market especially in the face of the global recession (which, strangely, hasn't been felt within and around the Philippines... yet). With all these things happening at the same time, it's nice to see that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is trying helping its fashion designers gain a foothold abroad. Called Tokyoeye, this ambitious pilot project by METI toured the world, starting at Shanghai and finishing in Paris, just after Fashion Week no less. This endeavour follows other similar moves that aim to promote, quite aggressively, Japanese culture to the world, notably the establishment of the Kansei Value Creation Initiative and the opening of the Kansei Value Creation Museum in Kobe and the launch of “NIPPON MONO ICHI – Spirit of Creation” in cooperation with the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, Japan (SMRJ) which aims to help SMEs - fashion brands included (they still aren't as big as car companies, banks and electronics corporations, after all) - use consumer-oriented products as mediums for their messages they wish to send to consumers (spirit of creation), by guiding them through the planning and development, distribution and marketing phases.

To quote from the Tokyoeye article on PhilStar:
The closing event in Paris was the highlight of Tokyoeye. From February to March, young Japanese brands like Aula Aila, Valentine’s High, Galaxxxy in Hi-Fi, Sachio Kawasaki, DRESSCAMP, Liz Lisa, Phenomenon, Duck Digger displayed their works at Colette — a boutique known as a bastion of cool.

Also according to the article, the Tranoï Showroom on rue Saint-Honoré opened young designers to deals with fashion buyers and merchandisers. If the designers play their cards right, we can will see some of our favourites in Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales and Club 21, among others.

I believe that this effort is also related to Tokyoeye:
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will set up a Japan Booth at "MICAM SHOEVENT", the world’s largest-scale international footwear exhibition, and help Japanese companies exhibit their products. The event, taking place in Milan, Italy, is expected to attract about 40,000 buyers.

While Liz Lisa and even Cocolulu (strangely not a part of this line-up ... maybe because it's not highbrow enough?) are already making in-roads in Asia (I really wish I'd been able to go to the Liz Lisa Taipei store while I was in Taiwan last year), I definitely agree that the other brands need more buzz. Outside of the few people I know who have an idea of

However, the more I learn about the METI's past and present efforts, I'm getting the impression that METI is creating and promoting Tokyoeye as a high-end affair. What would happen to the Japanese street fashion brands and the youth subcultures that they inspired then, like Liz Lisa and Galaxxxy in Hi-Fi? Would it be the end of fukubukuro (loot bags) from our favourite stores? Will this turn our beloved "raw" tribe followings into haute couture exhibitions?

UPDATE: Strangely, there seems to be little news about Tokyoeye available online. Hmm. Here are some of the links that I was able to find (I didn't include those already posted earlier):

Article on Modem Mag
Article on the Mainichi Shimbun's English-language website
Thailand-Japan fabric and textile collaboration article on FashionWindows


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is great! I love when there are Japanese fashion events out of Japan. I wish my city was larger, and a little more inclined to have such things. I get so jealous! I just hope Japanese street fashion continues to draw more regular fans outside of Japan. I wish more mainstream venues were used a swell. I would love to see Japanese fashions sold in regular stores and featured in more magazines.

PetSugar said...

wow great post! i must tweet this. i wonder how much will come of this. i know many little japanese brands have tried to expand to the U.S. and failed so maybe with guidance... idk i'm confused!!! i want things to stay the same except maybe a private shop in my living room lol

Ligaya said...

@Littlekobaby: Hi, thanks for commenting! ♥ My city only had a J-fashion photography exhibit this past February, but nothing along the lines of a total collaboration brand-wise which is sad in my opinion. We could learn a lot from the techniques that the Japanese designers and brands use in creating their products.

What I am wary of, however, is the kind of stores that would eventually feature and market Japanese street fashion. I'm personally scared they would be way beyond the financial reach of their original target markets, which would be young people like us. D:

@PetSugar: Thanks, and go tweet it! (I'm on Twitter too as @ligayaharuka. ;D) Yeah, it's confusing too, I want my Liz Lisa but I don't want to see it fail dismally when competing with other brands, and I really would hate to see it overpriced to the skies. DX See my reply to Littlekobaby above. ;3