Sunday, September 11, 2005

Japanese Designers Say: New Clothes are Overrated

Fashion has visited and revisited every decade, century, fetish, and fantasy. Designers are finally getting bored of emulation and searching for a new approach-- with Japanese fashionistas leading the revolt. Instead of dreaming up a concept and then wrestling to recreate it with available material, the new trend is to get inspired by clothing or objects in the immediate environment. Think recycled clothing, altered objects, and clothing as art. This passive approach to design feels more natural -- instead of struggling with existing materials, work with them -- ask them what form they want to take. This is the fashion world's interpration of Rodin, who claimed not to sculpt a figure into the rock, but "discover" the figure inside the rock: "I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don't need."

It's interesting that fashion critics aren't sure how to categorize these recent attempts. The New Yorker calls the Tokyo Recycle Project "as much an art project as it is a commercial fashion enterprise." Started by Japanese designer Nakagawa Sochi, the Tokyo Recycle Project invites consumers to give their old clothes to the designer, and he will make them into a new garment. A nice alternative to the consumer madness in cities like Tokyo and New York: instead of walking out with new clothes, walk on in with your old duds -- come in with a baseball jacket, out with pantaloons.

Another only-in-Tokyo phenomenon: Taku, a 17-year-old Japanese street artist, will shred and rip your jeans ever so
artfully. He now works for 1921 denim -- pick out
your favorite 1921 jeans, send them over to Taku,
and he will conduct a personalized mauling (prices
start at $500). If you're interested, they're available
by special order from Fred Segal, Los Angeles, or the
Atrium in New York.

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Anonymous Olivia's mom said...

I hope that some designers will go into this business in the U.S. It's a fun idea, and I'm sure that people have some old clothes in a pattern or color they like that they want to make stylish, again. Plus, customers who have put on some weight might like to have their old favorites fit again.

11:20 PM  

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