It would be an understatement to say Philomena Keet is interested in Japanese fashion.
Keet, a native of Lon-don, became fascinated with Japanese fashion when she first visited Tokyo at the age of 18. After living there for two years and teaching English as a second language, Keet began researching Tokyo street fashion.
"I just think it's so fascinating and I wanted to not only see the people wearing these fashions, but I wanted to talk with them and see where this all came from," she said in an interview just after arriving in New York from London. She's in town to promote her new book, "The Tokyo Look Book," published by Kodansha International ($29.95), which is hitting stores today.
As an anthropologist working toward her Ph.D. in Tokyo street fashion from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, Keet started gathering as much information as she could. She scoured the streets of Tokyo for months, walking with Yuri Manabe, a photographer who helped Keet capture some of the city's most fashionable young men and women. Keet even went so far as to get a job at an "underground" boutique in Tokyo to further connect with these fashion plates.
"Working there really helped me to define who was stylish," she said of the shop, which was located on a back street in the Shibuya area. "It stocked the most eccentric stuff. There were life jackets with shark repellent still attached, ex-U.S. Army gear for the snow and parachute suits."
Once she met a bunch of fashionable people, Keet then began arranging interviews with some of Tokyo's most popular fashion designers and influencers. The result is a book that not only showcases full-color photographs of the stylish set, but also interviews designers such as Naoyuki Ohira and members of the Goth rock band Moi-même-Moitié.
"Tokyo is known for its supertrendy, kind-of-crazy fashion," she said. "But in the book, I wanted to highlight a mixture of the supertrendy and the normal, fashionable people."
Now Keet is working on completing her doctoral thesis, which she hopes will turn into her second book.
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