The arrival of spring births two things in Japan’s capital city of Tokyo. The first is the arrival of cherry blossom season, sweeping side streets and skyscrapers in delicate, light pink petals. The second is that the stylish, Tokyo teenagers are out to play.
Street photographer Kira, the mastermind behind Tokyo Fashion on social media, often documents the city’s trendy residents year-round. Reminiscent of the ’90s Tokyo-based photography magazine Fruits, Kira’s work challenges the norm that all Japanese style is wacky or weird. Tokyoites do dress like this. It’s not a gimmick nor are they playing dress up. For a cultural society that often adheres to strict uniformity, clothing is often used as a tool to push against the grain.
Other global fashion weeks have been written down to a science. Every city has its uniform, from colorful printed patterns in New York to timeless black leather blazers in Paris. But in Tokyo, the rules don’t exist. All style subgroups shine. Whether a Rei Kawakubo-inspired crow or a pastel Lolita goth girl, Tokyoites often go above and beyond in showcasing their individuality. Japan’s neighborhoods of Shibuya and Harajuku aren’t called some of the world’s street style capitals for nothing.
Unlike other major fashion weeks, Tokyo Fashion Week often consists of smaller labels, set on showcasing their collections rather than a theatric presentation rivaling those of Chanel or Fendi. The more quiet, intimate affair affords those attending a sigh of relief. The stakes aren’t high and there’s no one fancy to impress–it’s just about the love of creation.
Young designer Naoki Tomizuka plays with draping and structure in an artistic lookbook while Takeshi Kitazawa of DressedUndressed imagines a bleak black-and-white world filled with immaculately tailored suits and lace silk dresses, perhaps a nod to the overbearing work culture creatives often critique in the industry. Meanwhile, streetwear legend Jun Takahashi of Undercover also celebrates the spirit of Japan in anime-inspired bodysuits and hair clips.
Safe to say, there’s something for everyone during Tokyo Fashion Week.
Crosswalks become catwalks under the city’s bright, neon lights with its eclectic youth pulling out the best for several days a year. Tattoo shop owners, social media influencers, fashion school students, and stylish grandmothers all come out to play. This season’s street style contains playful elements: bright colors, a ruffle or two, and several teddy bear phone-charms. As the world opens up again, garments are reflecting the childlike wonder and newfound hope that’s made its way back into our consciousness. While fashion’s front-runners may have expected a more comfortable and subdued comeback, Tokyo’s street style proves that glamor for the sake of it is back. Sky-high platform boots, limitless layers, and tulle skirts seem to acknowledge that after lockdown, everything is an occasion now. Going to the corner store requires your Sunday best, not your stained, hole-ridden hoodie.
Above all, Tokyo is expressive. In the far-out city that never sleeps, the sublime style on and off the runway this season remind us that there is a life after COVID-19. One with real tailored pants… whether we like it or not.
Take a look at some of CR‘s favorite street style pictures from Tokyo Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021.END
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createdAt:Tue, 23 Mar 2021 15:03:01 +0000
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