Tokyo may be the style capital of Asia, but with South Korea and China snapping at its heels and Japan’s most iconic brands rooted in Europe, the city is being urged to haul its fashion week into the big leagues.
Tokyo Fashion Week kicked off its spring/summer 2017 season showcase on Monday with six days of events intended to promote 50 brands, a mixture of the established and the new.
Yet Japanese labels that are household names in the West — led by Kenzo, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and Comme des Garcons — eschew home shores for the bright lights, prestige and visibility of Paris.
Tokyo Fashion Week attracts only 50,000 visitors — just a quarter of the total number that attend New York’s two annual fashion weeks, and also lagging behind London, Paris and Milan.
Held after the fashion merry ground exhausts the “big four,” few make the extra trip to Tokyo, and not many in Japan believe they are missing out.
According to a poll from local website Fashionsnap.com, only 20 percent of the Japanese fashion industry, including designers, stylists and editors, consider Tokyo’s events to be of interest.
The calendar, the no-show by the biggest brands, reluctance to open their doors to the wider public and sluggishness to embrace see-now, buy-now were all listed as shortcomings by the 221 people surveyed.