Thousands of Miles from Home


Fashion Show #2

I am constantly and repeatedly impressed with the Japanese sense of fashion. It appears to me that Japanese fashion isn't so much a separate entity from world fashion, but rather the concentrated culmination of every style one could imagine. Japanese people take Italian, French, and American designers, wear it all at once, and make the clothing look real good.

Also, the proportion of fashionable people is much higher than I ever experienced in America. Most of my classmates are carrying Louis Vitton wallets and purses on a regular basis, and in the city you can't go anywhere without seeing someone that seems to know a little something about good (or at least outrageous) fashion. Girls are wearing short skirts with high (swashbuckling) boots, large frilly parkas, and t-shirts with the "America's Most Wanted list" plastered on the front (and that was just someone I happened to spy the last time I went to the city).

So of course I jumped at the opportunity to go to the Chugoko Design College's fashion show in Okayama with Katrin (exchange student from Germany), Michelle (from Canada), and some of their friends from Joto high school (I was further allured by the fact that I would be getting in for free).

We all met outside Okayama Station around noon, and then did some shopping and a little eating before the show began. We hit Loft, a six story department store filled with postcards, food, tableware, furniture, office supplies, costumes, cellphone accessories, and crazy pop art curiosities. It happened to be the day before Valentine's Day, so the 4th floor was crammed with girls buying last minute gifts (in Japan, girls give guys gifts on Valentine's Day, while guys get a whole extra month until March 14, White Day, to return the favor).

We then walked past Symphony Hall to where the design college was located. We arrived just in time, as two huge projectors and strobelights flashed while some Bjork pump-up music played in the background. As far as I can tell most Japanese fashion shows (and this could be true all over the world) have the same format:

A very high BPM song plays while searchlights and colored strobes blind the audience (with the ultimate goal of distracting the onlookers from the clothing they came to view). Tall, stone-faced models then powerfully stride onto the stage, walking in rhythm to the music alongside their equally stone-faced cohorts. Usually one model will be the center of attention (the queen model...quodel?) and will carry an accessory such as a devil's pitchfork or princess's wand to augment the clothing on display.

All of the clothing I saw was themed, with about 10 or 12 small performances ranging from Jamaican dancers sporting red, yellow, and green to a spooky "Men in Black" type outfit with fake smoke and sleeves that reached all the way to the floor.

I don't ever aspire to be a fashion designer, but I did get a kick out of the stunning display.


  • That picture of all the girls buying Valentine's Gifts is crazy!

    By Bernard, at 2:26 PM  

  • and to top it off everyone looks mildly annoyed with the painful ritual purchase of candy

    By Benjamin, at 11:47 PM  

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