Tokyo Kawaii Collection in Paris

16 Dec

Tokyo Kawaii Collection in Paris
15/AUG/2009 on air

Tokyo Kawaii TV organized a fashion show that introduced Japanese kawaii at a luxurious salon in Paris. They call it “Tokyo Kawaii Collection in Paris” and for this event, Tokyo Kawaii TV held auditions to select the representative designers of cutting-edge works that reflect trends in Tokyo today.

1st entry is from a department of school uniform.
School uniform has become a solid fashion thanks to school girls of Shibuya – Harajuku area. Anime and Manga played an important role to let it spread in the world.
Toyoko Yokoyama is a pioneer designer of school uniform, who has also produced a school uniform-looking clothes shop in Harajuku.

2nd entry is from a department of men’s style.
Shinya Yamaguchi is a designer, creator of multiple fashion items, and even a king of street snap. He works from a small 6Jo room (For your better understandings, something like this.) where he keeps his clothing. “Isn’t it interesting that one of the coolest things in Tokyo is created in such a small space?” says, Shinya.

3rd entry is from a department of Lolita fashion.
It’s a fashion genre that is also supported enthusiastically by American, French, and Russian people. Yoshie Yamashita is a designer. She sells beautiful Lolita dresses online with the concept of “Lolita clothing for adults”. Kokusyokusumire is a big fan of her dresses.

4th entry is from a department of deco design.
Maiko Kaji is a deco designer who has many clients of Japanese celebs, as well as Patricia Field and Paris Hilton. (Here is an episode how she was selected.)

Tokyo Kawaii TV asked authorities of fashion industry in Paris for the tips to make the show successful. It should be a location where the show is taken place, the celebs who come to the show, and the talent to make it successful. But it seems “kawaii” is not popular in Paris… Tokyo Kawaii TV is however proud of the designers this time, because they also asked opinions from Aloha from Hell, a German musician and The Black Eyed Peas, and Kashiwa Sato, a Japanese art director who is active worldwidely and also well-known as a designer of Uniqlo logo in order to see how the selected designs were sensed by international people.

Japan Expo is a biggest J-culture event in Europe. Many people visit there to buy Anime or Manga, but these days fashion items from Shibuya and Harajuku have increased. In average, 241 Euro per person was spent there. However, 90% of shops were non-Japanese. Taiwanese man sold Nekomimi hat (cat ear hat). French woman made sweets accessories and sold them. There was a Japanese woman sent by Ministry of Economy researching the site. Our government thinks that Japanese corporations should make use of kawaii as a business opportunity. “Japanese government wants to put out Japanese culture to the world more aggressively.” says the woman.

There are however some companies that are successful in expanding their business to the world. Laforet Kawaii Collection is a fashion show held in Paris and that was from 10 Gothic and Lolita brands that are popular in Harajuku. “We come to Paris, do the show, and see how local people evaluate us. We bring it back to Japan and we want to improve our place in the Japanese fashion industry.” says the CEO of Peace Now.
Kamikaze Girls is a Japanese lolita movie that was released in 7 countries. Baby the stars shine bright is a company that provided the clothing to the movie. The lolita clothing of the heroine has captivated many girls in the world. After the release of the movie, this company received many orders. They sell the lolita clothing to 32 countries today. Their international sales is as much as 3,000,000 yen, which is almost the same as a monthly sales amount from a single regional town. In fact, they didn’t expect orders from South America, but there are some these days. They hired an American lolita girl who takes care of English website. “I am too tall and fat for Lolita clothing…I was thinking so, but I found my size finally! I want to tell girls all over the world how wonderful Lolita is!!”

Tokyo Kawaii Collection had a hard time to find celebrities who got interested in “kawaii” in Paris. Yamaguchi-san dropped at a local shoes store to ask opinions for the high heel shoes he designed especially for men. But they say in Paris, it’s difficult to be accepted unless it’s used by some famous designers. When Yamashita-san asked opinions for local people, the reaction was also very conservative. 😦

The episode is cut here, due to an accident while it was recorded, sorry!

Kirin’s opinion:
I’m very much disappointed at the reactions of the people in Paris. They sounded very conservative. Kawaii maybe too childish to them? As you may know, in Japan chasing kawaii is not limited to children. To the contrary, kawaii for adults are very much accepted and nothing cannot be promotive without kawaii element or concept, especially if the business is targeted for young women of 20-30s.
Anyhow…sorry the episode was cut off due to some accident. I don’t have the rest of the episode. It’s not available unless it’s re-aired.


19 Responses to “Tokyo Kawaii Collection in Paris”

  1. Anna December 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    Tokyo kawaii tv interviwed me at Japan Expo but I can't find me anywhere :(!
    Yeah, I think that kawaii fashion is a way too childish for western people ._. thery prefer adult like-clothes. it's a pity because I like kawaii and lolita fashion a lot! But I still want to dress in lolita clothes despite of what people here think ._.

    • kirin December 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

      It looks like they interview many people but it's only a little bit that is used for on-air. Most of the parts will be cut-off at the editing process…It's not only you. I heard some people experienced the same as you. 😦

  2. harukosama December 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    I think the main reason so many in Paris were hesitant to embrace the "kawaii" fashion show is because the translation isn't quite appropriate. Cute and "kawaii" are definitely not the same thing- there are some similarities, but also a lot of differences! As you noted, kawaii in Japan is for all ages, and as is clear in the show, "kawaii" designs are actually quite innovative and can be very sophisticated.
    The word "cute," however, is typically associated with childish and silly aesthetics, and does not lend itself to the level of innovation, seriousness, and sophistication that is carried with all things kawaii. I bet that if people were presented with the fashion show with a more appropriate translation, they would be much more excited about it. After all, designers from all over the world will go to Japan for inspiration!

    • kirin December 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

      You're right. Cute and Kawaii is not 100% equal. There are many words in Japanese that do not mean 100% the same way when converted to English. For example, "Natsukashii" is not 100% equal to the feeling that one misses something. (I was not sure from your profile if you understand Japanese too.) :p

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. πŸ˜€

  3. Steve Stier December 17, 2009 at 1:32 am #

    While I find kawaii very attractive on younger women. Many of the fasions represented here were to far over the top to be attractive. I don't understand why Japanese are so attracted to these extreme designes but that is why I read your blog. To learn about Japanese culture and Japanese life. I have seen the movie "Kamikaze Girls". I thought the fashions in the movie were an exageration of the lolita fashion, but I can see here that they were not. I did not know that "Baby the Stars Shine Bright was a real store. What a surprise. This was an interesting post. Thank you.

    • kirin December 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

      Thank you for your interests to my blog and your comment, Steve. I don't understand Lolita very well, but it was very fresh to me when I heard they like to live as Lolita by nature. There are certain numbers of people in the world who like Lolita way of dressing but they notice that when they actually see the Lolita looks.

      Most of the Japanese do dress normal clothes (less extreme fashion) but even so, it's absolutely important that the clothes, accessories, or fashion items are perceived as kawaii (cute, pretty, or cool). If it's kawaii, it sells. πŸ™‚

    • Aisha March 27, 2010 at 9:58 am #

      Ah I own the bunny print dress the girl was wrapping in the BTSSB store! I bought the pink version of the dress the San Fransisco branch, which was recently open last summer. Now there is an official Japanese Lolita store in the United States for those interested, ironically I live in Texas so it was a large pilgrimage for Lolita's in North America to all flock to San Fransisco for the Grand Opening.

      • kirin March 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

        Cool. Yeah, I heard of the store in San Fransisco. πŸ™‚

  4. Lisa December 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm #

    I think Harukosama definitely hit it square on – the translation of kawaii to cute does the concept a disservice. :/ It's much more than that and certainly a lot broader. Also, like you said – we hear the word 'cute' as adults and are almost repulsed by it. I used to hate being called cute, because it can sometimes have a negative meaning: it can be perceived as considering someone as less capable, not able to take care of themselves, maybe not as intelligent as others. I don't know why, but it seems as if it has become anti-feminist when it comes to adult women. Which is really odd, because you would think the ultimate sign of independence is to be able to wear what you want! But anyway, I digress. Now I have no trouble with cute, because I think and use it as a broader word like 'kawaii' myself. But I agree, it's disappointing that the people they interviewed didn't understand it that way. Perhaps they should have gone to the show to learn what it really means!

    • kirin December 18, 2009 at 12:34 am #

      "hit it square on"?? I'm learning something new which I cannot find in a dictionary…(@ @;) So…cute gives you an image of being dependent right? I hope the day will soon come when word "kawaii" is recognized as it is… Maybe it's difficult to explain it with words, and the best thing is they should come to Japan and see what it means by themselves. Fashion or art or music, these things are hard to be explained with words.

      It used to be said by some foreign people that Japanese adults are very strange because they read Manga on a train. That's because they imagined comic like Spider-Man. But it could be something like "Kacho Kosaku Shima (… Time has passed and now what happens? They like to read Japanese manga! (^_~) I hope someday they understand why we like "kawaii"!

      • Lisa December 18, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

        ha, actually 'hit is square on' is almost a kind of mix of some expressions! 'You hit the nail on the head' is probably the 'correct' version. It just means you got the point or idea exactly/perfectly. πŸ™‚ Hitting something square on is like getting a bullseye, hitting the target perfectly. So they both mean the same thing, that it's the 'right' answer. ^^

        I agree with you, and I also hope it will be understood! Then perhaps the next thing to explain would be 'kimo-kawaii', which is such a perfect expression! πŸ™‚

      • kirin December 19, 2009 at 12:31 am #

        Thank you Lisa! I've learned something new. I didn't even know "hit the nail on the head" even though I understood the meaning from the context of your comment. :p

        I found that Kimo-kawaii is explained at ALC (which is the site I use as a dictionary). πŸ™‚

  5. Luigi Fulk January 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    I simply wanted to add a comment here to say thanks for you very nice ideas. Blogs are troublesome to run and time consuming therefore I appreciate when I see well written material. Your time isn’t going to waste with your posts. Thanks so much and carry on You’ll defintely reach your goals! have a great day!

    • kirin March 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

      Oh I didn't notice your comment up until now, sorry. It might be too late to reply to it, but thank you so much for telling me such a kind message. ^ ^ All the best!

  6. Burton Hurt December 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Very nice site, i love it!!

  7. nina March 9, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    i love japanese fashion! i love the way they dress up. they are daring and know how to express themselves in public. i guess paris fashion just love 'high fashion'. i believe that kawaii word not only mean cute but for me kawaii is more like chics and innocent. u've been to malaysia right? i'm from malaysia. i realised that malaysian youngsters try to wear daring style and more weird style. unfortunately, people in malaysia will look at them like a weirdo. haha. kawaii style in malaysia just started to spread. wearing big ribbons, deco their cellphones are common in malaysia right now. hehe. for me, is not only paris that can't accept kawaii fashion.

    • kirin March 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

      Oh you know what made me surprised in KL? I saw a young guy who was wearing like autumn clothing such as jacket in KL, under such a sticky hot climate. He looked so uncomfortable with heat and sweat. But he seemed to dress cool.

      It was in March but when I went shopping, I was again surprised to find some autumn clothing sold there. Who's going to need them?

      Also some Japanese fashion magazines are exported and available in Chinese there, right? Then it can be a matter of time that Malaysians take notice of kawaii.

      • nina March 10, 2011 at 8:13 am #

        haha. its true! it remind me of one of my guy friend. he used to wear thick sweater with fake fur at the hood in the class with ac, of course. i once tease him about it because it doesn't make sense at all. but then i figure out that he loves japanese style and want to look cool. haha.

        i guess autumn clothing like sweaters always attaract young malaysian. especially the chinese guys.

        yea! although i can't read chinese words, i still buy japanese magazines. actually, i always go to kinokuniya to get the 'real' japanese magazines.hehe. because some of the magazines got a free gift like bags and pouch. although, it cost a lot but it worth it. ^^

      • kirin March 11, 2011 at 1:23 am #

        The one I saw was on the street, meaning under no ac but hot air! @_@
        Ah freebie! Be careful some freebies are really shabby.

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