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.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye