TOKYO — The Japan Creation textile fair this month featured hand-spun silk and polyester recycling systems, showcasing the country's ability to preserve ancient techniques while pioneering new fabric technology.
Although some exhibitors cited a tough business climate, particularly in their mainstay domestic market, recent figures from the Ministry of Finance indicate growing demand for Japanese textiles abroad, especially in China and other Asian countries. Exports of Japanese yarn and fabrics in October rose 7 percent to 69 billion yen, or $614.6 million at current exchange. Between April and September, the first half of Japan's current fiscal year, exports of those items grew 3.9 percent to 418.4 billion yen, or $3.74 billion.
The show, which ended its three-day run Dec. 7, typically draws about 40,000 visitors from across Asia. However, attendance fell 13 percent to 38,411 compared with last year, according to Japan Fashion Week, which organizes the show. The decline was blamed on Japanese fashion companies' increasing tendency to delegate their sourcing activities to third-party agents. The event also provides little assistance to non-Japanese speakers, reflecting the show's overwhelmingly domestic thrust.
Exhibitors displayed an array of textiles for the fall and winter season, from lightweight, breathable denim to a fabric made from a blend of Japanese paper and herbs. Japanese silk makers were a significant presence and offered an extensive selection of products, including silk in jewel tones like emerald and sapphire, intricate florals and even woven miniature replicas of Mt. Fuji.
"Nowadays there is a real emphasis on 'Made in Japan.' People buy the cheap stuff in China," said Eita Saito, chief director of silk manufacturer Saiei Orimono Co., a supplier to labels such as Burberry and Givenchy.
This season, his company is offering a woven silk coated in a simulated gold finish and a chambray silk that alters the color of its sheen as it moves.
"Very shiny silks are really popular now," Saito added.
Show-Ichi Tsubota, president of Tsuboyoshi Orimono Co., stressed real silk's staying power in a crowded arena of synthetics and imitations.
"The Japanese have the culture of the kimono and they know what real silk means," he said, showing a coated version designed to simulate python skin.But Japan's expertise in synthetics was also a dominant presence. Masuda Co. developed a new polyurethane-coated nylon for outerwear that provides sheen and durability. Sakei Ovex Co. showed polyester and cotton blends that were capable of being used to create a featherweight tunic dress or a cropped trenchcoat.
Mitsubishi Rayon Textile Co. is pushing triacetate blends that are wrinkle-free, easy to care for and soft to the touch. The company's client roster includes fashion houses such as Prada, Marni and Stella McCartney.
"They are lightweight materials with the feel of spanned silk," said Ichiro Kogo, director of Mitsubishi's textile sales department.
The company is also producing a polyester yarn that can be easily mistaken for real silk.
Reflecting the ecological trend in fashion, Osaka-based Teijin Fibers is expanding its system of polyester recycling. The company started its "Ecocircle" project in 2002 for sports and work uniforms, but wants to broaden its reach to everyday apparel. Teijin's stand showed how recycled polyester can be transformed into items as varied as a velvet-like jacket and a crisp pouf skirt.
"We intend to expand our technology to various areas, not only sports and uniform wear but also fashionable wear," said Kohei Azuma, of Teijin's fashion textiles sales department.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)