Normally, Tokyo follows India in the global fashion week calendar. But in the wake of the earthquake, the tsunami and nuclear explosions that rocked the country, shows were canceled. Although Tokyo wasn't directly hit by catastrophe, the decision to halt the shows came down to an iffy electricity supply, transportation snafus and the safety of attendees.
Yet some of Japan's top designers showcased their collections at Lakme Fashion Week (pictured above) in India. Tokyoeye, an initiative by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, brought the best of Japanese fashion talent to India. Designers Motonari Ono, Tamae Hirokawa and Sara Arai showed on the very day the tsunami hit their home country.
Arai, implemented a dying art from Japan called Yohenzomei, in the form of a fabric that changes color under light. She hoped to make an impact on India in order to "send cheer back to her countrymen." Designers Hirokawa and Ono noted that they were influenced by their country's traditional weaves and craftsmanship.
Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto recently presented his black, white and edgy designs at Spring-Summer 2010 fashion week in Paris but things weren't so rosy behind the scenes. The brand has filed for bankruptcy protection listing debts of six billion yen, or $67.8 million. The firm is planning to continue to operate while in bankruptcy. The brand Yohji Yamamoto was formed by the designer in 1984 and he is part of an influential group of designers from Japan, including Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake, who gained influence in the 1980s. The brand's moderately priced Y-3 line with Adidas is set to continue.
The economy is being blamed for the financial situation. Japan's luxury market appears to be less robust lately, especially in light of the recent announcement by Versace that it is closing its Japan boutiques. But Yamamoto's popularity extends beyond Japan. The minimalist line, which offers easy-to-wear clothing with unique cuts, has a small but devoted following. Other nIche brands like Escada and Christian Lacroix has faced similar financial woes. As in other industries smaller fashion businesses often don't have the resources or name recognition to compete once overall spending goes down. Another determining factor for many of the smaller brands has also been the decrease in orders from department stores. As stores and boutiques trim their orders many of the less well-known brands are being left behind.
UPDATE:Yohji Yamamoto Inc. has found a new investor. Integral Corp., a Japanese private equity fund, will finance the company's restructure. WWD says that pending court approval, Integral plans to create a separate company to acquire the Yamamoto business and assets which will become the new Yohji Yamamoto Inc. with Yamamoto himself retaining a minority stake.