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L.A. Designers Go East

Seven fashion brands eager to reach out to Japanese buyers and media staged a presentation and mini runway show as part of Tokyo Fashion Week.

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Seven Los Angeles-based fashion brands eager to reach out to Japanese buyers and media staged a presentation and mini runway show as part of Tokyo Fashion Week.

This story first appeared in the March 18, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The event, which took place Monday, brought together five contemporary brands that showed their fall collection in Los Angeles last week: Linden, Stella Proseyn, That’s Totally Fine, Together and Katherine Kidd. Bohemian Society, another contemporary brand, and hat and headwear brand Bijou Van Ness also participated in the Los Angeles Fashion Council-sponsored initiative.

Victor Wilde of Bohemian Society had to cancel his plans for a Tokyo show right after the March 2011 tsunami. “So now we’re kind of picking up where we left off and introducing the brand to the Japanese market,” he said, showing pieces from his fall collection, including python jackets inspired by Nicolas Cage in “Wild at Heart.” “Each piece has its own story.”

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Rehn Dudukgian of Bijou Van Ness showed a collection of vintage-inspired veiled pillbox hats and large flowery hair accessories. Her hats are carried in three stores in Tokyo and one was featured on the cover of Elle Japan’s bridal issue. “One of the main things that drew me to coming to Japan is that, culturally and historically, Japanese women have always really appreciated high-quality hair accessories,” Dudukgian said.

Debbie Talanian of Stella Proseyn has a certain familiarity with Japan as she likes to use the country’s cotton and Tencel in her line. She said she is hopeful her design sensibility will translate to Japanese buyers and consumers. “A lot of people have told me that they felt like my designs would resonate with Asian culture, in particular a Japanese aesthetic, because they tend to be sort of clean, minimal,” Talanian said.

Several of the designers highlighted that their collections use eco-friendly, animal-friendly or sustainable fabrics and materials and said that has seemed to resonate with the Japanese people they had encountered thus far.

Together, a brand new label pushing colorful botanical photography-inspired clothing, uses fabric from recycled PET bottles. Lily Chehrazi and Benedict Barrett, who codesign the brand, said they see a big market in Japan for environmentally sound fashion and they have made some good contacts with buyers.

“[There’s an] appreciation for eco-fashion,” Chehrazi said.

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