Japanese Fashion Designs - Part XI

June 10, 2010

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The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 had a great influence in altering the type of clothing fashion worn by the Japanese people, especially many women who during this period began working outside of their homes and, to accommodate their work, they needed a different type of clothing than that typically worn indoors. To make these western style fashion clothes they began to buy cloth from other parts of the world and developed techniques to compete with the machine woven cloth available.

Emperor Meiji died in 1912 when the era of the ruling clique of elder statesmen (genro) was reaching its end. Between 1912 and 1926, during the Taisho period, Tokyo suffered a devastating earthquake. Because of this calamity many of the old Kimono were lost. During the late Meiji period, after living almost two decades of intensive westernization, although the industrial economy expanded rapidly until about 1920 with large private investments and inputs of advanced Western technology, there was a revival of conservative and nationalistic feelings and a consequent reaction rejecting dressing in Western styles fashions.

Through conscious economic planning, the post-World War I era brought Japan unprecedented prosperity and it emerged as a major industrial nation. The textile industry grew rapidly and it remained the largest of Japanese industries until World War II.

The Showa period lasted since1926 to 1989. During these years the Japanese government taxed silk production to support military expenses then, to conserve their material, Kimono designs became less complex. After World War II Japan's economy gradually began to recover, Kimono began to be produced in greater quantities becoming even more affordable. Although kimono's shape remained always the same ideas fashions coming from Europe and America affected the kimono fashion designs and motifs. Kimono and obi colors changed with the season and with the age and status of the wearer. No matter which the era is Japan always remained Japanese at its core.

Today most of the traditional Japanese fashion designs have evolved to what is known as street fashion a term that describes a style fashion where the wearer personally customizes the outfits by adopting a mixture of both traditional and modern styles.

Generally street fashion clothes are home-made with the use of material bought from the stores and currently there are many styles of dresses in Japan, as a result of mixture between both local and foreign labels. Some of these styles are, similarly to the haute couture seen on European catwalks, extreme and avant-garde.

It was in 1982, when some 12 fashion designers showed their collections in Paris at the pret-a-porter (ready-to-wear) show when Japanese fashion design first made a real impression on the fashion world.

Now, it's street fashion the one leading the way in Japan. However the famous and established Japanese fashion designers still play a big part in setting the trends for world fashion.

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