There is an identity crisis at the heart of Japanese fashion. It has two contradictory faces that it would like to reconcile — both domestically and abroad. On one hand, the image of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu acolytes posing on the streets of Harajuku prevails and yet, at the same time, the word “Japanese” invokes the image of traditional garments — regrettably reduced to just the kimono in most minds, simply a fixed aesthetic locked in time as a national costume rather than a fashion object.

This contradiction is all too apparent in the majority of media coverage of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo, often giving more space to pre-selected eccentric street style, rather than the content of the catwalks, and seeking out subcultures at every turn while ignoring the dominant fashion culture.

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