JFW: Cancelled!

It’s not surprising that they have cancelled the 12th Japan Fashion Week, which would have taken place between 18 to 25 March. Considering what the country has to go through in the wake of the tsunami and earthquake that hit eastern Japan last Friday, it is not unreasonable to assume that, among other things, logistics could be a nightmare, especially with the blackouts put across large parts of Tokyo to cope with power shortage. Of course, promoting fashion in times of national calamity cannot be more exigent than planning for disaster relief. Moreover, it is reported in WWD that many particpants of the event have “cancelled or indefinitely postponed” their presentations. To add to the dismal mood, retail and beauty companies’ stocks are plunging, with Fast Retaling seeing a17.5% dip and Shiseido 9.18%.

The sad truth is, Japan Fashion Week has not really been on the global fashion radar. We hardly ever hear of any member of the press leaving the Paris season for Tokyo’s. They bid Paris au revoir, and that’s it. This lack of interest is contrary to the still un-diminished craze for Japanese fashion, from N. Hoolywood to Neigbourhood, and the capital city as an unmatched shopping destination.

Personally, I think there could be more for Japan Fashion Week, but that can be challenging when all the big names are showing in Paris, and probably more thinking to follow the footsteps of Rei and co. That, however, does not mean that there’s not much to offer in Tokyo, where some of the more forward retailers such as United Arrows and Beams are supportive of local labels. Past JFW events have brought attention to some brands that continue Japan’s flair for the avant garde: look at John Lawrence Sullivan, White Mountaineering, Factotum, and Miharayasuhiro.

Now that Japan is attracting the attention of the world, let’s hope it will be given a chance for its fashion to ascend like, well, the rising sun. If not now, hopefully next season.

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