Japanese fashion’s influence on Western style and trends

30 Mar

Probably most of you didn’t know that most of the trends start in Japan before going to Europe, the States and the rest of the world. In fact, Japanese fashion is more and more influencing westerner style these days.

No no, it is not America which launches the trends like for everything else nor the city of Fashion but Japan.

For example, the popularity of camouflage motifs began in Ura-hara before migrating around the world.

Jean Paul Gautier spring/summer 08 show opened with some pretty serious camouflage, appearing in everything from breeches to loose waistcoats, to skirts, hats and bags.

Japanese fashion may not yet be as popular as luxury brands like Dior and Louis Vuitton. But it is slowly being adopted by more and more teenagers and young women in the western world that are most of the time inspired and following celebrities.

Of course everyone knows of Gwen Stefani’s love of Japan with her Harajuku girl backing dancers. But also with her Harajuku clothing line that is drawing inspiration from Japanese culture and that was the first collection to regroup a European designer and the Japanese style: Stefani’s line was in fact, a combination between Christian Dior and Japan fashion which at first generated a wave of shock for the whole western fashion world. More recently, the famous American singer also launched recently her super cute Harajuku Lovers perfume inspired once again by Japan that was this time much better welcomed by western fashonistas and critiques.

The Harajuku Girls hired in 2004 as backup dancers for Gwen Stefani.

The Japanese fashion revolution began in the 80s with designers like Issey Miyake, Kohji Kamamoto and Comme de Garcons. And it has completely extended now with brands like Uniqlo, Kenz and Muji.

Besides, European designers like John Galliano, Elie Saab and Karl Lagerfeld have for a long time been fans of Japanese fashion and regularly go there for inspiration in order to be creative and present a new aspect to the westernized world.

Issey Miyake, spring/summer 2008.

In 2007, John Galliano got his inspiration from Japanese artistic elements for his Dior Handbags collection. This Dior Samourai 1947 Woven bag was released in celebration of Dior’s 60th anniversary. The hand stitched Japanese hair knot and tortoiseshell frame top are super elaborate. Rolled leather handle with twisted tie detailing and gusseted sides add a touch of Asian style.

Elie Saab, the French implanted fashion designer unveiled a Japanese-tinged spring-summer haute couture collection at Paris Fashion Week 2007. Saab’s collection was inspired by the Japanese kimono with wide-cut sleeves and obi sashes.

Known for their accomplished mixed and matched outfits, their strong emphasis on color and their advance in their tastes in comparison to Europe, Japanese have allowed European designers to bring to the Westernized fashion world a new, creative, unique and colorful look that wasn’t present before: A new look that comes challenging the old monotone shades and similarity that was predominating.

With designers that are constantly pushing fashion boundaries and people who know how to be unique and not to look like carbon copies of each other. Japan has fulfilled in drawing everyone’s attention on their style.

However, the Japanese fashion industry is still late comparing to the European ones and is facing many difficulties to grow despite the government’s efforts to help the field.

Japan’s domestic apparel industry is on the decline. It shrank 1.3 percent in 2010, and is expected to post a steeper decline for 2011 as recession-weary consumers and an aging population cut back sharply on spending.

Nevertheless, there are some young emerging designers that are ambitions and hoping to follow the footsteps of previous Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo that have excelled in the Fashion domain and continue to impress and influence the western world with new, innovative and unique trends.

Yohji Yamamoto spring/summer 10 collection

A current exhibition that is running at the Barbican Art Gallery in London shows how Japanese took the world by storm in the early 1980s and how their presence continues on the international stage. It explores the unique sensibility of Japanese design, and its sense of beauty embodied in clothing.

So if you are interested in learning a bit more about this unique and very accessorized style, do not hesitate to book you tickets and go explore the treasures of Japanese fashion!

One Response to “Japanese fashion’s influence on Western style and trends”

  1. Jillian March 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Hi! I’m currently researching the ways in which Western fashion designers draw influence from Japanese fashion, and I stumbled upon this page. Do you happen to have more information on the topic? In particular, I’d love to know more about designers who travel to Japan to research trends there! Thanks so much!

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