Kansas City-born fashion designer Jeremy Scott has become widely known for his iconic pop style, and celebrities from Bjork and Lady Gaga to Britney Spears have worn his designs. However, Western celebrities aside, this Missouri native has built an immense fan base in Asia as well.
Many fashion bloggers in Japan have given Scott the unofficial title of “Harajuku’s favorite designer” — referring to the hip youth heart of Tokyo.
As part of a promo tour for his sportswear collaboration with Adidas, titled “O by O” (“Originals by Originals”), Scott breezed through Tokyo recently, and The Japan Times was able to catch up with him in the city’s trendy hot spot of Shibuya — coincidentally, on the first day of Japan Fashion Week.
Scott started off by saying how he lived in Fukuoka during his teens and has been making trips to Japan — which he calls his “second home” — ever since. But the designer was (astonishingly) surprised to hear he was in town just as JFW was starting. “Oh? I didn’t know, what a coincidence,” he said in a manner that spoke volumes for JFW’s global reach.
Apart from his busy schedule, he said he had no plans to attend any of the shows. He also hesitated to name favorites among Japanese brands and designers, or to tip any new, up-and-coming names. However, it seems he does have his eye on the young brand Phenomenon — though for the moment the designers he can confidently say he admires are Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garons, Yoji Yamamoto, who has been based in Paris for quite some time, and Kansai Yamamoto.
Although Scott was reluctant to name young Japanese brands, he is all for the street fashion and the youth culture of Tokyo. Indeed, he expressed his belief that Japanese street fashion rules all street fashion styles from New York and Los Angeles to Paris and Hong Kong.
“Japanese youth culture and the street fashion dominate the world; the effort, precision, energy and the details these kids put in their fashion, it is just the most innovative,” he enthused. Then, referring to the Japanese proverb saying that “a nail that sticks up must be hammered down,” he observed: “It’s interesting, just look at the Harajuku district and you’ll see that everyone is so different from each other, but they work their own style in harmony. It is kind of an oxymoron in a way.”
The fact that Scott didn’t know about the start of JFW is telling; while high fashion is on the runways, the street fashion that drives new trends is all over the city and on display all the time.