"If both the poor and wealthy are essentially dressed the same, it becomes impossible to identify what class a person comes from. Meanwhile, as I said, the true serebu—or super-rich—are unseen, transported to another world by their bizarre and insular lifestyles. While this may appear all well and good to the tourist visiting Japan who is impressed by how ‘nice’ everyone looks, from a standpoint of political organization the reluctance for class identification among the Japanese becomes a major roadblock. This also means that the signs of Western fashion, as they relate to historical developments and class struggles, are sadly of no interest or value here. We know there has been a great deal of cultural appropriation from the poor by couture culture in the West. In a bizarre inversion, rich people now wear tattered jeans bearing the marks of labor and manual action, whereas poor people can only afford unfaded and stiff new jeans.
However, in Japan (and particularly Tokyo), where Western fashion is simply an import, the very notion of ‘political fashion’ is all but impossible. It is simply color without meaning, or late-phase Dada. Outside of Tokyo, some of these dynamics are weakened, and you see a bit more diversity of fashion. For example, in Osaka and Kyoto you may actually find people in clubs or such going out of their way to dress differently. I think one reason is that these areas have a stronger relation to communist thinking, partly because there are many Korean-Japanese with cultural ties (although not necessarily political ties) to North Korea and who continue to resist certain forms of assimilation into Japanese culture as a result of their parents or grandparents having been brought to Japan under conditions of slavery and servitude prior to and during World War II. And, of course, the presence of people openly resisting assimilation affects the entire community, including fashion. Kyoto also has a history of leftist resistance, but it is tied up with Japanese nationalism, so the mood is a bit different from Osaka.
But generally speaking, you will be hard pressed to find Japanese people who can read political or class struggle into Western fashion (other than saying something looks expensive or cheap). In the world of music, this means you have Japanese bands with one member dressed as a punk, another as a B-boy, a third as a glam rocker, a fourth as a biker, a fifth as a royal prince from the land of fairy tales … and their sound is simply straight-up, fluffy, pop-rock boy band. It’s a major mind-f**k for a person like myself, for whom the connections between fashion, music, class and identity were so explicitly and deliberately interwoven.”
Interview with Terre Thaemlitz: Celebrity Culture in Japan? in Other Continents, Other Celebrities, Other Fashions by Pamela Gibson
Amila Hrustic, a student-designer at the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Sarajevo ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) finds inspiration in the ancient branch of mathematics.
"Plato’s Collection", her diploma project is an assortment of origami-esque dresses made from paper and textiles, is a mass of edges, vertices, and faces, with each dress corresponding to one of the five Platonic solids (the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron).
The book celebrates the underground 80s indie guitar scene in the UK illustrated in 192 pages of carefully sourced, and in some cases, never-seen-before images of key musicians from this era. It was written and compiled by Sam Knee who, after being introduced to band Cramps aged 15, spent his teenage years being a true eighties indie boy crimping his dyed black hair and wearing Shelley’s Chelsea boots.
Both educational and inspirational, the book takes a fashion trip from 1980-1988 featuring well known eighties musical acts including The Smiths, Primal Scream and Orange Juice mixed up with lesser known talents like Televised Personalities and The June Brides. Looking through photos of the bands bowl hair cuts and charity shop outfits, it’s easy to draw comparisons to the style of today’s indie groups such as Peace and The Horrors.
You can get the book by clicking here.
Karina Smigla-Bobinski, ‘Ada’, a large helium filled ball covered in charcoal nubs. The piece floats gently in space until interacted with by viewers, who can toss the ball against the walls, creating scratchy drawings on the surface of the gallery space. During the course of the exhibition, the walls evolve into a dense collection of scribbles.