Japan Fashion Week tries to keep up

By C. James Dale TOKYO – Sporting leopard print pants, white low top Converse, and oversized designer sunglasses, Ia swooped in ten minutes late for our coffee date, the epitome of street chic. The host of NHK World TV’s
Tokyo Fashion Express is still on a high from her annual trek to
New York Fashion Week. So, is she excited about the arrival of
Japan Fashion Week? Not so much. “It’s just really not on the same level as New York and Paris, especially the runway shows,” she said with a sigh last week. “It’s more off-the-rack kind of stuff.” It’s a harsh assessment, but perhaps there’s some truth to it. Aside from designers such as
Issey Miyaki and
Kenzo, the Japanese are known more for their mainstream clothing lines, and how they bring their styles to the street, than their haute couture. Still, organizers of the 11th Japan Fashion Week are pushing ahead. The event runs from October 18-24 and features runway shows, exhibitions, and installations.