Katherine Corcoran gives her round up of recent Tokyo Fashion Week.
Hyper-modern streetwear took centre stage at Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo’s Spring/Summer 2019 shows, a testament to the cosmopolitan metropolis that is the Japanese capital. With design primarily rooted in experimental, rather futuristic looks, the scope of work at Japan’s largest fashion event was fine-tuned enough to set a clear aesthetic for contemporary Japanese fashion.
Credit must always be given to an arts initiative that raises the profile of designers from outside the industry’s commercial centres; for Japan, its the Asian Fashion Meets Tokyo scheme that invites designers from around Southeast Asia to the country’s buzzing capital to showcase their work. This year’s show focused on Philipino design, and a selection of twelve crisp menswear looks by Otto Sacramento’s Ottomondi was my high point. Sacramento works with a foundation of awkward summer streetwear – think socks with sandals, cargo shorts and sunhats – and creates quality through the use of sturdy fabrics that add a sense of loose tailoring to this casual base. It’s a wonderfully relaxed collection that would work fantastically in the heat of a Philipino island, yet doesn’t for a moment mar the formality of the runway.
Venue choices for the week had an urban edge, with shows nestled in warehouses and skyscrapers around the city. One of these stark locations was a parking garage above Contact, a techno club in Shibuya, where the exciting culimation of Masanori Morikawa’s Christian Dada and Shinpei Yamagishi’s Bed j.w. Ford came to life in their one-off partnership show. Self-reflective in its use of duality, Dada j.w. Ford played on contrasts in palettes and textures; looks saw yellow raincoats slung over muted trouser suits, and a ‘so wrong it’s right’ harmonization of magenta, mustard and electric purple with a muted brown checked jacket that seemed desperate to ignore the party underneath.
Although Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo cite themselves as one of the five ‘most known fashion weeks in the world’, it’s hard to deny that New York, London, Paris and Milan trump their Asian counterpart when it comes to Western media attention. With big name brands like Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons having relocated to the West, there aren’t many Japanese names that demand international attention during fashion week, and British Vogue are very limiting in what Japanese content they’ll pay attention to. The lack of buzz surrounding Tokyo fashion week is a real shame, as Japan has a fantastic contribution to make to the high fashion scene.
By Katherine Corcoran.