27 December 2009

street v.s runway, why harajuku is awesome, why chanel bores me (sorry uncle)

disclaimer: this is long as hell on the blog, if you really intend to read it, paste it onto Word so you can read it. i can't fix the font on the post because my blog is being a jerk to me. it's a journal excerpt i've just typed up.

I was reading the comments in the other post and I'm glad we all share a mutual obsession
fascination with asians! I had my Columbia interview some days ago and the dude interviewer (asian, taiwanese, majored in east Asian studies + going into fashion = yeah Columbia I see what you did there, and I'm diggin' that you cared enough to match me with someone I would like! thankksss) and I had a discussion about Harajuku street style. Obviously he had more to say since he, you know, WENT THERE BEFORE (I'm not bitter at all of course not why would I be bitter) and he had some interesting points to make.
  1. Harajuku style was a bit odd, because they all dress unique, but they all dress unique the same way. As in, they all dress on the same level of weird.

I don't know. Is it bad I don't care? That I really don't mind that? I have a feeling I would actually really enjoy being surrounded by the people that inspired me and got me into fashion in the first place, but would it wear off after awhile?

It's a bit odd. On one hand, everyone here is really awesome about my style, and though apparently it's too weird for them to do themselves, they support me wholeheartedly. A few days ago the Board of Ed here came in to critique our outfits to see if they were "business interview worthy" and of course I was wearing an absurd(ly me) outfit, and when they started to critique it my entire graduating class gave me a round of applause. 200~ people just clapped for me! Even people I didn't know.

So going from somewhere where I'm different but supported to (hypothetically) going to the place whose style I emulate but probably wouldn't be considered different in... would I like it? When I think about it.... I think I still would.

The thing about fashion for me is that yes: it is a double edged sword. It's all about ~originality, but those who are truly different are always. consistently. ostracized. When Rei and Yohji first showed in Paris, they were freakshows at first -- of course they eventually came to be the powerhouse icons they are today, and basically introduced the entire fashion crowd to androgyny and BLACK -- but they were first considered weird as hell and then considered awesome. Sonia Rykiel and all the designers of the time (along with the majority of critics) complained that the "Japanese designers" weren't considering the body, that the clothes they were making were asexual and weren't molding to the body.

They were right and wrong. The way designers like Chanel, Rykiel, Lanvin, etc design is a completely different way that Rei Kawakubo or Yamamoto or Margiela or Miyake designs. I have a scrapbook of all the Japanese Style articles I've read, and this phrase stood out to me:

Kawakubo's clothes were deliberately designed to look unfinished and worn, defying common sense and challenging notions of perfection. At first she was regarded with revulsion, but this eventually gave way to amazement and admiration (Baudot 1999). Kawakubo (in Ayre 1989:11) says that 'Perfect symmetry is ugly.... I always want to destroy symmetry'... She wants to question the notion of perfection as something positive and beautiful.

And see, that is why I love street style more than runway (of course, besides the Comme collective, and maybe fifteen other designers around the world). Too many designers in my opinion don't try to break any conventions or contribute something truly thoughtful or new to the pool of fashion. They try to reach out to people, but what they want to say isn't something with depth. It's just something flattering to wear, something that makes you feel pretty and confident.

Art!Fashion doesn't aspire to that. It doesn't need to. It speaks for itself; it is its own justification. While other designers have a specific image--a brand concept they adhere to constantly and consistently each collection-- Comme doesn’t. The entire House: TAO, Comme, et all, they all reinvent, rethink, explore new ideas, and no one collection is on the same strand of thought as the previous one. None of it is safe, none of it is predictable. Hell, half the time, very few pieces aren’t actually wearable. And it’s called “Ready to Wear”!

Issey Miyake 1990

Fashion right now feels really homogenized, predictable: safe. I'm beating a dead horse here but honestly, fashion as a whole, as a general being, isn't very interesting at the moment. There are too many wannabe Chanels, too few protégés of the avant garde (that survive the first year, anyway).

So, I’m brought to the question: why do I even claim to love fashion when I dislike, I don’t know 80% of the designers that are famous? Because, when the runway cannot survive, street style is always there to provide new thoughts to chew on, and if you’re lucky/obsessive enough to go through 30-90 street style blogs a week or month, you can see culture in its rawest form. You see it on someone who doesn’t even consider themselves fashionable, you see it on old ladies and drunkards and rebellious teenage schoolgirls and businesswomen. I don’t know if I’m clear enough, but I like street style over actual “runway” because it’s more accessible, more creative, more varied. You don’t have to own a $5000 dress to look amazing, and a lot of Tokyo Street Style snapshots don’t have any designer item in them at all.


WendyB said...

Hey, I went to Columbia (assuming you're speaking of Columbia University?) so good choice. And speaking of Asian fashion gives me the opening to share one of my favorite YouTube videos:

Laura MW said...

Hear, hear!

And despite your twitter defying anyone to read it all through - i did :P.

I do agree, yet have to say I am a complete hypocrite because I always despise and talk down on the ugg-wearing jack-wills clones that england houses, yet I probably fall into my own 'clone' category within the true fashion world.
I have to share your opinions on things though, and your point of no-one being truly individual, even in the quirky world of Japan, because they all dress in the same quirky - to us - way.

All I can do though is continue to wear things my way and how I like it - if no-one is wearing it, or everyone is, if I truly like it I don't really care!


AFitz said...

I like how you distinguish it as art!fashion, which is especially interesting since in the Rei interview Tavi posted like - forever ago, where she said that she didn't view fashion as art (must find direct quote). That stuck out at me because I wanted to grill her on that and find out more - how does she define fashion, how does she define art, how does her definition of fashion differ from her definition of style or clothing, you know? Because I see a CdG collection and think, that is art (which isn't to say that I think Rei is wrong - of course I don't think that, but she obviously has a very different interpretation of fashion and I want to just pick her brain, you know what I mean? Yes?)

I also like your last paragraph - I don't follow Japanese Street Style beyond the FRUiTs magazines that I took from the Worn offices, but I was at the bookstore today flipping through that coffee table book on Grunge that Thurston Moore just released. My best friend and I got into this long conversation about how how much the clothing - the street style - really captured the era; it's hard to depict music in a picture book, but the clothing really captured that just with photos of these kids and the way they interpreted the music through their style; and while they all fit into the same "vein" they all took their unique twist on grunge and made it their own, which is something that Marc Jacobs' Perry Ellis collection just wasn't able to capture.

And to finish this ginormous comment, that bolded line about perfection not always meaning beauty reminded me of the introduction from this Diane Di Prima's autobiography I'm reading. She's talking about Beatnik culture, which is um, totally different from Japanese street style, but I think it can apply to that bolded quote as well. I'm going to type it out in it's entirety because I want everybody to see my massive comment:

"'What do you suppose happened to al lthose Beatniks?" mused a blonde freshman as she drove me back to San Francisco after my reading at Berkely last year.
Well, sweetie, some of us sold out and became hippies. And some of us managed to preserve our integrity by accepting government grants, or writing pornographic novels....you name it. Or, as my eleven year old daughter recently said to me, remembering the early years of her childhood:
'I really miss those old days. They were hard, but they were beautiful.'
Things now are more like pretty."

Which interested me (HOLY SHIT LONGEST COMMENT IN THE WORLD)because of the way so many people liken beautiful as being "really really super pretty" rather than (how i interpret beautiful) as being something that can be "really really super emotively moving." And that's what CdG and Yohji others can manage to do (some might argue that, but I think that's a more subjective decision and a WHOLE NEW discussion so I am just going to leave it here. I hope blogspot doesn't accidentally delete my comment)

katthroatworld said...

yay, you finally blogged this post! (i don't mean "finally" in a bad way.) i agree that you don't have to spend $5000 to look amazing and i def hear you on how up-and-coming designers can be mundane unlike cdg, but i gotta admit.. i DO still love me some chanel (although i'll never be able to afford any). =P great post! your opinion is always very interesting.


Leah said...

Not sure what more I can add after both your post and AFitz's super duper long comment, but I genuinely couldn't agree with you more.
I've definitely been bored by Fashion (big F) lately, but at the same time, I continue loving fashion (little f) and all it's delights. But it's definitely something I've found myself questioning, probably more than is healthy (because of uni applications for.. err.. fashion design, ha!) and I think sometimes, you, just for a moment, have to cut off from Fashion and remember why you like clothes and creativity and ideas and the joy you get from that.
For me, it's the infinite variety from clothing that I enjoy, whether it's harajuku or someone more 'classic' in their style - without the contrast, I do think fashion (both big & little F maybe?) would become dull for me.

Lexy @ Quirky Explosion said...

I read every single word of this post and I ABSOLUTELY AGREE.

I was actually thinking about this the other day. I always complain about how EVERYONE looks alike. I mean at, say, malls and my school - almost EVERYONE is clad in skinny jeans, Hollister, etc. etc. But, even in the fashion world and people whom are considered "fashionable," I find that many end up looking like clones. Today, some of the most "fashionable" are all wearing the same tight black dresses - biker jackets - black boots - look. It's essentially the same clone-like looks, contrary to the fact that they may be viewed as "fashionable."

And, similarly, on the runways, these "trendy" looks that are allegedly ground-breaking are EVERYWHERE. The jumpsuits, the shoulderpads, the distressed denim, whatever the current trends that magazines rave about being "ground-breaking," aren't really. They're all over runway shows.

Obviously, there are a few designers that push the bounderies and those are the designers that truly portray what fashion is. So what if it's not wearable? If you're going to have the opportunity to have a runway show, then I think it's a great opportunity to showcase ART, not pieces that are going to be cloned and sold at the nearest F21 in a few months. Bor-ring.

Dammit, you're post provoked my angers. LONGEST COMMENT EVER. OKAY BYE.


PS I love your blog.

bobb said...

Excellent, intriguing post here.. and great your class clapped for you!

Ria said...

This is not long at all! Maybe for people stuck in a 140 characters mindset.

This was a good read and I totally agree with you. I dress as a typical fashionable person I think but once in awhile I'll wear something non conventional and people like it even though they say they could never pull it off.

Lucy in the Sky said...

well put. I wouldn't exactly call all designers "artists" since many stick to rulebooks and the mainstream so those designers, Kawabuko, Miyake and Margiela are artists in the sense that they look past the limitations of mainstream beauty and explore and bring to life another kind of beauty. to be honest I don't know much about those avant-garde designers *buries head* but I like the way they think (as well as the way you think! :D). and yay, Columbia! I think it's one of the perfect institutions to attend if you want to live the New York life while getting a top notch education.

laia. said...

thats the funny thing about subcultures, especially ones that are all about being yourself and saying fuckyou to the mainstream... you dress to standout, and yet blend in with the rest of your peers... i think on a certain level the realy original people can at best be considered drifters because they wont even want to conform to what the nonconformists want.

i think this makes sense.

blukats said...

I'm all for designers being as creative as they want. And for people playing with fashion. Especially if everyone else where they live dresses the same. Dare to be different.

That being said, Harajuku is so overhyped. It's a tourist trap. Seriously. The kids that go there go there just to be photographed. Most dress in visual kei style copying their favorite bands so it's really not that creative. All those photos for Kera and Fruits, those are not just random people on the street. They post where and when they are taking photos and people show up just to get their photo taken.

That's what is so sad about it. People believe people living in Japan always dress differently. They don't. Japanese standard of dress is very conservative. Harajuku is all show.

DarlingNikki said...

What an awesome commentary! You have put into words what I have been trying to express for years, but never really knew how.

LucyInTheSky: I agree about current designers sticking to rules & "trends" of the season. What ever happened to creating something no one has ever seen before? Making the world of fashion exciting again?

This blog post was very necessary. Bravo!!!

Julianne said...

I found this whole post extremely intriging(i know is spelled that wrong). Hmmm. I find that I too am drawn to what normal people put together with what they have(however little). Runways just seem so impersonal maybe? GREAT POST!

Arabelle said...

oh yeah, i have NO DOUBT harajuku is a tourist trap / overhyped, but i'm still smitten with it. call me gaijin, what have you, i still find it fascinating. perhaps when i visit i'll fall out of love with it but i doubt that'll happen.

UGHH so many good points made here! i'm going to spend awhile chewing on your thoughts before i start rambling again.

Mary said...

Re: sonia rykiel and other similar designers just designing for body flattery, etc - I think there is an enormous amount of true beauty in pieces that are conventionally attractive. They may not be as conceptual, but questioning perfection goes both ways, and beauty is really the end goal, right? Beautiful things are fascinating just because they are special. if that makes sense?

keishathefashionista said...

Omg! i totally agree! like i love how we (not u and me in particular but people usually with an interest in fashion) always complain about the hollister and ugg clad society yet we see an abundence of motorcycled jacket acid washed jeans balmain clones everywhere and we call it "fashionable". i think fashion at the moment is suffering from everyone wanting to be like everyone else and everyone wanting to be a famous designer/blogger/model/stylist or what have you fast. but in time maybe a new wave of groundbreakers will come through but for now we have street style blogs/books/magazines (FrUiTS holla lolz) to sustain us.

Sarah K. said...

This is a great and very interesting post! I think it's hard to see fashion as a form of art when we, as humans, naturally strive for clothing that is symmetrical or flattering in a sexual way (low necklines, small waist, etc...). So pushing the boundary in terms of fashion design is really a very difficult thing to do....

Another thing is that fashion is hugely based on tradition... that is, traditional cuts/fabrics/proportions, and in the western world at least, it's hard to break away from that.Honestly, the concept of "fashion as art" is fairly new.

Again, great post! Really enjoyed reading it!

diane said...

I agree with you, up to a certain point.
I love Valentino.
I love looking at the high fashion on Susie Bubbles page.
There is nothing "street" about either one of those. Besides that, I love street.
God girl, you put an amazing amount of effort into this post, Bravo. xo

Bo Bae said...

A beautiful, inspiring, TRUE and reliable writing.
I've been thinking about the same issue for a long time but never know exactly how to express my opinion.
Harajuku / Japanese style might be a bit TOO MUCH for some people (and sometimes I feel that too), but those unique, crazy and extraordinary things are truly inspiring. It gives people (designers, artists, photographers, ANYONE really..) an impulse of something fresh and raw to work with.

Urooba said...

Wow, I totally agree with you.


Coco CHANEL 's CHILD said...

*$=t !!!!!
( ^^ )

Sade said...

I just wanted to say that you run a great blog. I'm culling my feeds from 500 to 100 for the new year, and yours is one of the few fashion blogs I'm keeping.
I'm living in Japan right now, and I would have to agree, there is little originality on the streets here. Harajuku style is mostly passe, and besides it is all "outrageous" in the exact same way. The thing is that the standard is just higher and the aesthetic system is different from in the West. The idea that imperfection is also beautiful goes back a long way in Japanese culture, so even that idea is not really "new."
At any rate, good luck!

KIM said...

thats why i read blogs. real and raw (well some of them anyway...)

Lewisia said...

Interesting reading! I don't really know who you are, since i'm from Sweden but I think you would do great as an journalist! Very refreshing to see someone who doesn't see brands as Chanel and Lanvin as Gods! :)

kate said...

love your blog, comment on mine?


thanks, you are very kind

Dannie said...

loooving this post
i too have a loove for asians ;)
their originality and true to self style is sooo inspirational!!!

trina's reality said...

Agreed. Thank you! ;]

Aurora said...

I'm learning so so much.

La Société de Mode said...

Amazing post! the pictures are stuning..the writing is witty and that mans bag just takes the cake. We love your blog..you always leav us in stitches. Can;t wait to see your next post.

Rebecca, Maddy and Alec
La Société de Mode| The Fashion Society

Lucia said...

Wow that actually makes a very good point. people should stop conforming. they should just be themselves.


Erina said...

I feel the same way about many high end brands, like Chanel, Balmain, and so many others. There just isn't the creativity and ingenuity that there should and could be. Yes, some of it is exquisite, but that is not what I find thrilling about fashion. On a sort of different note, I think a big part of what first attracted me to blogs and what got me started blogging, is the open-ended, individual fueled feeling of the "fashion blogging community." Kind of in the same vein as what you said about street style, that's why I love blogging and reading blogs. Anyway, great great post and good luck with Columbia!

Annabelle said...

Almost mind blowing. And I agree. And it's hard to be you or them or outrageous because it all falls in a category somewhere. It's like if I wanted to wear normal, suitable clothes I would fall into a category. And if I realized that was ridiculous and rebelled, I would also fall in some category somewhere. And if I said, you know what? screw clothes, the nudist community would most likely accept me. So it's like the best stuff is effortless, you, where you don't think about it and aren't influenced? I don't think I'm making much sense.

Kiyo said...

I think it's true that though people in Tokyo dress unique, but in the same way. If you're walking in the Harajuku Shibuya area, you'll see a lot of crazy and amazing fashion, but they're all similar in the way the outfit is layered, put together, or the pile of random accessories. I feel that Japanese fashion can be categorized into groups, and within these groups, the way people dress is usually similar, if that makes sense. In general, I think Japanese people like belonging in a group.

But I agree, so much of a country's culture, life and well everything really, can be seen from street style. Such an interesting and intriguing post, it made me think a lot!

new jersey personal injury said...

I love a man with fashion! That bag is amazing. And I'm happy that he's holding it.

Winnie said...

I just watched Wendy's Ganguro youtube link. Hilarious.

I completely agree with your points. Japan, like with you, has been a big obsession of mine for longer than I can remember and I would love to visit Harajuku one day. Yeah I know that it's pretty much a tourist spot and that the styles are pretty much the same...but I love the fact that they dress that way and that they are so accepted.

I love keeping up with the latest runway news but street style is definitely where it's at. It's fashion at it's rawest and more importantly, it's real. No question for me that Japanese street style is the best, even if they're not dressed in an extreme lolita/Cosplay way, I love the embedded Japanese style, the fun and daring side...they have me completely captivated.

yui said...

the problem with japanese street fashion is that people enjoy creating style genres too much. we practically have a word for any sort of style, no matter how bizarre it might be, and fashion magazines that cater to these styles, so it becomes really easy to just "fit"into a category. this is why conservative japanese kids are able to dress so outrageously; they know they are a part of style genre, it gives them street cred and it's comforting to them to know that there are lots of others who dress in the same outrageous way.
which is why anyone who understands tokyo fashion will look at photos in fruits or tune and be able to tell exactly which designers a kid in a praticular outfit likes, which vintage stores he shops at, which magazines he reads...etc.
foreigners cant see this, they look at these outfits out of context without really knowing or understanding the genre or rules behind them. which is why so many nonjapanese people enjoy tokyo street style. when you know, the whole thing becomes less interesting, a japanese kid wearing layers and stuffed toys becomes a big yawn like seeing a parisienne in APC and chanel or something.
of course, some of those kids do dress innovatively...but i dont think there is anything overly special about tokyo other than that we have interesting prominent style genres which allows more people to dress up without feeling out of place.
(the irony of it is that a lot of these style genres probably came into existence through street style magazines...)

what i hate most about all this is that it becomes really hard NOT to fit into a category. i love it when i see someone who is clearly making an effort to break free of all those outrageous style genres but still manages to create a unique look.

Taj said...

I believe that everybodys different in every way and that walls should follow different rules in eveything including fashion, religion,etc.that's why we all have our own brain

Tavi said...

I agree but kind of don't? WHAT I THOUGHT WE WERE TWINS

Of course I love Kawakubo more than anyone, we all know this, etc. I love Lanvin too though, because, yes, its aim IS to make women feel confident and pretty and womanly, but I don't think this is a bad thing because it's still good design. I feel the same about Sonia Rykiel.

I don't quite know what I'm getting at. But I think that if ALL designers tried to be thoughtful, and artful, then..the significance would be lost? Like the "if everyone's weird, no one is" thing. And I get that there are MANY ways to be thoughtful/artful/weird (like our street style peeps) (ew, did i just say peeps?) but...I don't know, it was Coco Chanel's vision to make women fabulous and classy and I don't think that's wrong or that it's wrong for Karl to continue the vision..that's his job.

I don't know, but now I'm getting kicked off the computer, so I will finish this when I get home haha.

Tavi said...

What Yui says is interesting too. In tokyo it's probably not edgy to dress like that...idk, again, i have to finish this when i'm home and not rushed and my sister isn't blasting Glee

Molly Rose said...

here here! you just put almost all of my incoherent thoughts into understandable words

Arabelle said...

im glad you commented, yui-- awesome perspective i was curious about. ^___^ gonna munch on that for awhile. yeah, i suspect it's because i just have like, a very americanized view looking in so it's more interesting / more surprising, but thats ok with me.

as for tavi -- I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?

i do love lanvin (not really rykiel sorry bb. =|) and of course some RTW I really adore too, and i totally respect their vision, it's just i don't love them as much as my favorite avant garde or post modernist designers. there are times every girl wants to look pretty, but i don't have them very often, and i don't think they're necessary to make a girl feel empowered. rei is amazing to me because she's a paradox, while the easier to wear brands the majority of fashion loves and wears constantly (acne, etc) are pretty straight forward and have a consistent vision. i don't like that as much as rei and the great "6" because i can always expect the general concept, and i'm not really surprised. rei changes it.

yui said...

i read this post again, it's really interesting to think about....
but comparing runway and street is like comparing bananas and banana splits no? i think a lot of fun street style couldnt exist without big name designers to play off of...
also, cdg mainline and junya do some crazy stuff but then there's play and comme des garcons comme des garcons which are really simple and kinda boring, and tricot comme des garcons which is like the watered down version of tao ccmme des garcons... .so even the cdg universe isnt all about new ideas and fashion as art.. im guessing the reason rei kawakubo gets to do anything she wants with the mainline is precisely because she has other more commercial lines for counterbalance.

also, doing new things is important, but i think consistency is equally important... for example the reason why i respect miuccia prada so much is because (in addition to being accessible but innovative) she never, ever, loses sight of her aesthetic..i can only imagine how difficult it must be to come up with new ideas while maintaining a level of consistency for the sake of the brand name, but she does it incredibly well. same goes for dries van noten. i think this is what it means to design for a big fashion house. i dont think i could respect a designer (or artist, singer, costume designer, ANYONE really,) who changes his vision every season (eg: jun takahashi of undercover, i just cant bring myself to like undercover). cuz isnt it interesting and exciting to see what new ideas a designer can come up with DESPITE all the limitations?

sorry if it sounds like im criticizing your post, im not, it was really fun to read and ill be looking forward to more!

Arabelle said...

No, I welcome the opinion, really. <3
Mmm, yeah. I don’t think runway is better in the long run, it’ s just as far as my own personal inspiration comes from, street style usually comes first. Of course runway and streetstyle are pretty parasitic off of each other (there must be a better word for it but rn I can’t think of it..)
Yeah I definitely can’t ignore play and the diffusion collections, but I don’t really consider them awesome anyway. That’s a good point to bring up. xD I only really acknowledge the runways for Comme, since those aren’t commercialized as much. Rei has always said she’s a businesswoman/designer, not an artist.
You don’t like undercover? DDDD: whattttttt. Yeah, you have a point. It’s just a personal opinion that I prefer constant reinvention.

queengilda said...

will you see this comment under your flood of commenters? happy new year! this asian is gonna drag her ass to tokyo soon. lemme know if you want anything.

LADY REBEL said...




caro. said...

you're so right . . . streetstyle over runway, any day!

Han-omi said...

hi. the post wasn't actually that hard to read on blogger, and i liked it but the main reason I'm commenting is to tag you.
Yeah.. this is my blog. Well, not mine. It's two people. Anyway, stylehawkers.blogspot.com

em.me.ma said...

the issey myake pic is sooooooooooooo inspiringg!!

i definitely love your blog:) i'm gonna follow you.

Amber said...

Beautiful and inspiring post.

clairegrenade said...

everything about this post speaks DUHH TROOF!

(the truth)

seriously, Belle, rock on

fashion should be always widely regarded as power to the people

analee said...

I'm not sure if what I'm about to say if relevant to the post, but I feel like in some strange way it is linked, so I will say it anyway. Although not as into fashion as I used to be, I still follow many blogs that I love and yours is one of them. ANYWAYZ...

I do agree with you that by today's standards, Chanel (and many others but I use this because I know the most about it blah blah longgg extended sentence) is not considered avant garde or what's the word...shocking? revolutionary? But at one point it was, Coco Chanel changed fashion in the 20's, bringing to life a new idea of women...blah blah blah I'm sure you know this...
But once upon a time Chanel was cosnidered revolutionary and now it isn't. It became normal because we got used to it, and I feel like I'm going to be attacked here...but I do believe that one day this will happen to CDG, Hussein Chalayan, Margiela and several other leaders of what we consider to be avant-garde designers. And over time, as fashion, or the idea of it, evoloves and changes, these designers will be cast as normal and not unique and others will take their place.

Or maybe I'm totally wrong, but we cannot deny that many revolutionary designers, Chanel for instance, and ideas even, over time, become not so revolutionary, as they are accepted and normalized by society.

AND ANOTHER SMALL NOTE that is sort what I just said summarized, everything different eventually becomes accepted and cast as normal, and fashion is no different.
blah i am done. hopefully this makes sense as I have been awake for 36 hours...time to go drink some coffee I have homework to begin!

analee said...

ONE MOREE THING that maybe contradicts my last post! (sort of)

however maybe Coco Chanel wasn't trying to be revolutionary or redefine fashion, and maybe CDG and various others are so they will keep creating new designs. Also, maybe Chanel intended to keep the same idea of what Chanel is, and as you said, CDG and other avant garde designers house are constantly developing and changing because that's what they are about, change. However I do not know, I shall think on this insteading of writing essays due tomorrow

my empty closet said...

wow can i say thanks for posting about this? i've had a string of thoughts about this flowing throught my mind for a while but i've never been able to sort it all out like you have here.

i love what you're saying and for the most part i agree, but i also think that mary (way up in the middle of the comments somewhere) has a point - conventional designs can be beautiful too. don't get me wrong, i eat up street style like it's nobody's business, precisely because it's so accessible, but when i see something on the runway, whether it's super sleek and 'straight' for lack of a better term, or revolutionary in style and design, i can find inspiration there too. i always find it interesting to see how people translate what they see on the runway to real life...

it's a funny point you make about harajkuku style ~ i'd never really thought about how they all dress differently in the same way...

Moonlight said...


i've also read somewhere that high fashion designers actually look to japanese street fashion for inspiration. And how it's such a shame very few fashion designers from japan actually go global. basically, their ideas and such are being ripped off. just a tad.

ok probably being unfair by saying that streetwear is being ripped off. Inspiration is inspiration, but i do think it would be much more creative for designers to be inspired by ideas, not already existing clothes. that's more like...regeneration, not creation.

But that doesn't mean I don't like the regeneration. Style is different from fashion in my book. And to me, is more important.

And each designer has their own philosophy or purpose. Some are dedicated to empowering women, classical looks, feel, fit, cut, some are dedicated to more abstract ideas, breaking traditional barriers. So in a sense, I don't think it's fair to even put streetwear and runway in the same box. Although they are both fashion. In fact, I don't it's actually fair to compare any designer with another, because they have their own purpose. And each one has their own personality and feel.

It's funny how there's this whole superficial side, and this deep philosophical side to fashion isn't there?

I totally agree with Laura MW, I wish we all had more courage to be more interesting, i guess, in the clothes we wear.

I agree with Blukats, overhype is overhype, but don't you just love it? And from reading Yui's comments, well, i mean duh. Anything that seems foreign will just seem that much more interesting because it's foreign...

Like, I'm so much more into french guys just coz their accent is sooo...foreign........

Michelle said...

wonderful post. very well-written.

ashford said...

great post.

two things I think about--
1. the democratization of fashion due to mass retailing and now, hyperspeed mass retailing
2. the recession, duh.

Both have lead, i think, to the explosive success of street style over runway. We are tired of labels-for-labels-sake bc we reached that pinnacle in the 90s, and we no longer search for exclusivity just for the sake of it.

I ramble bc your post made me think.

SimplyAin said...


I have started and erased what I wanted to say to many times so here are bullets

-street style makes my eyes pop out of my head and drool run down the side of my face just about always while only certain designers have that effect

-RIP Comme bag

-yay for hot guys tied to stalker made rockets

and lastly

-like all art forms, fashion (expecailly street style) is a way to show who you really are to the world without having to use words.

It kinda reminds me of math

AMIT said...

This post is just awesome.

lingerie today

AM said...

Harajuku (and I mean the real Harajuku not that part selling gothic lolita clothes) and well, many other places in Tokyo (Koenji, Daikanyama, etc.) are like huge subcultures of people dressing uniquely. And I don't think it's a bad thing at all that unique there becomes such a common thing! It's only more refreshing and gives us more hope about the world... that people are still into giving their clothes some thought or live up to certain aesthetics, etc. :D

But I must say, even if it looks different to us looking at Tokyo street style blogs or magazines, it's all very normal in Japan. It goes two ways from there though, you either get desensitized to it or you end up paying closer attention to and relishing the details. (My favourite subculture would be the mori ga-ru (forest girl) hehe.)

Only, I think in places like Harajuku alot of people actually have designer pieces in their clothes - whether it be from internationally renowned design houses or from local Japanese designers which are just as expensive! Alot of the clothes we see on street style blogs look thrifted too, of course, but they're actually expensive.

But I must say, the best part of Tokyo are the high end "thrift" shops stocking stuff from local labels to Tsumori Chisato to Marc Jacobs.

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Marianne said...

This is a fab post and really getting me thinking....

i am just starting a paper on Rei so thank-you for giving me so much beef for it!!

This link between Rei &Co to street style is interesting. She feeds street stylers and encourages wearers to breaks rules.
She will always be interesting because she will always be deconstucting fashion traditions. Street style is a fashion tradition now, like Chanel, so it that next?

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canvas art prints said...

Wow - you guys really know your fashion, kudos.

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Jessica Wood said...

Love this.
I have spent years following the trends mindlessly but at the same time thinking that I was being original and unique.

Being able to wear something that you love, something that's out of the ordinary was and is still a scary thing for me, and I suppose it is for many people.

But your blog among others is helping me to see how amazing it is to just be who you are. Now the thing will be finding out exactly what it is I like :L

Thank you :) x

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