Modesty takes center stage
For all the political discourse centering on what Muslim women choose to wear, it is easy to forget that the hijab and related robes comprise a diverse genre of fashion. Looking at the garments beyond their religious connotations, they have a surprising amount in common with the kimono in that they wrap around the body rather than cut into it. Indeed, hiding the form of the wearer ultimately becomes an exercise in alluring modesty over the more overt body-conscious designs broadly favored in the West.
Building on the increase in Muslim visitors to Japan from East Asia brought in by an inbound wave of tourists is a modesty-themed fashion show as part of the Halal Expo 2016 on Nov. 22 and 23 that aims to link Japanese sensibilities with those from the Muslim world.
The first of its kind on Japanese soil, Tokyo Modest Fashion Show 2016 is free and open to all. The event presents four fashion shows over two days, as well as styling workshops. Hopefully, it will be a spotlight bright enough to pierce the shadows and misconceptions that surround Islamic dress.
Comme des Garcons unveils a timeless collection
Fashion is known for being in a constant state of flux at a speed that even its most ardent followers struggle to keep up with. Fortunately, “X is the new black” and other thoroughly lampooned cliches are increasingly less relevant as the corporate grip of the old elite weakens and the internet age ushers in a new generation of amateur archivists for whom building a wardrobe is a collection of taste, not trends. The rise of used clothing shops in the past decade that weren’t about getting a good deal but acquiring one’s fashion grail were the most obvious harbingers that change was afoot, and now the industry is really listening.
Taking the lead as ever is Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garcons with the launch of its RE/COLLECTION conceptual line, which is on display in the Aoyama flagship until Nov. 20. In store you will find Kawakubo’s personally selected looks from seasons past re-created as not just an archive installation but one you can buy into if you missed the chance the first time around. The range reaches back as far as 2004 and suggests that fashion is as timeless as you really want it to be.
Comme des Garcons Aoyama 5-2-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Alice Black’s wonderland
Much is made of the ongoing gentrification of Harajuku, and quite rightly so lest the big brands looking to capitalize on the rise of fashion tourism kill off the independent brands that actually attracted people to the area in the first place. Accordingly, it is all the more important to take a moment to cheer on an organic success story that recalls the backstreets-of-Harajuku spirit that gave us the Undercovers and BAPEs of the fashion world.
Alice Black, from Harajuku street-style icon Norimi, is just that. Spreading his U.K. punk-inspired jewelry and accessories among his highly photogenic friends, it was eventually picked up by the coolest boutiques going, including Candy and Cat Street’s own Cannabis. As of Nov. 1, he now has a shop to call his own on the same Harajuku streets where he was once so frequently snapped — proof, if needed, that the dream is still an attainable one for aspiring designers even as the juggernauts of the fast fashion world are encroaching on their turf.
Alice Black3-18-30 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo