To continue with our Japanese theme this week, I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the inspiration behind some designer’s collections.
The Japanese are famous for their street wear culture. One subset in particular called kosupure, (“cosplay” or “costume play”), is sky rocketing in popularity and influencing Japanese fashion.
Kosupure, whose roots date back to “the late 1980’s at an event called Comic Market, Japan’s largest fair for amateur cartoonists, who draw their own imitations of their favorite comics and animations.” This evolved further as an expression of appreciation in manga (animated books), animation and video games such as PlayStation’s “Tales of Innocence”. You can see once such example to the left.
Not only an expression of style, this movement also includes social networks, web-sites, costume shops, courses teaching cosplay techniques and even a cosplay English-language school.
To give you an idea of the rate of growth, Cure the countries largest social-networking web-site brings in approximately 200 members per day.
This sort of influence on Japanese culture reverberates in the fashion world as well. In her Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 collections, mercibeaucoup designed by Eri Utsugi, reflects a heavy influence of the “Otaku (anime or manga) geek” culture.
Here are some examples from from her Spring 2008 collection.
And here are some examples from the Fall 2007 Line. I just love this little hoodie!
You can see the cotton candy wigs take on a cartoonish effect. The clothes in my opinion are fantastic. I love the color and pattern. I am really coveting the shoes the girls are wearing. Note to self. Find out who designs the shoes.
While the kosupure movement has not caught on in the U.S., I certainly have a great appreciation for the work of Ms. Utsugi and her contemporaries. I checked the schedule to see when mercibeaucoup will be showing this week during JFW, and I could not find them. So I have a little more hunting to do to see where and when she will be showing her collection. I know some may feel that her pieces are a little outrageous, but I really love the whimsical feel to them.