TOKYO — The upcoming Tokyo Fashion Week will be the first in two years to include more physical shows than digital ones, with 30 of the 54 participating brands opting for a live audience. The decision by more designers to return to the physical runway signals a normalizing of attitudes toward COVID-19 in Japan.
Other developments for the week, scheduled to run between March 14 and 19, include shows by Toga and Tomo Koizumi, which will both be supported by headlining sponsor Rakuten as a part of its By R program. Both brands have shown in Tokyo before, but not in recent seasons. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Toga.
The Agency of Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government will support the brand Blackmeans, designed by Yujiro Komatsu and Masatomo Agari, to hold its first runway show as a part of Tokyo Fashion Week. In addition, the brand Bed J.W. Ford will collaborate with Launchmetrics to hold a show utilizing 4D volumetrics, enabling even those who can’t attend in person to enjoy it in a new way via their own device.
Even for brands that are opting for digital presentations, some will hold press events where they can interact with journalists, discuss their collections and answer questions. One thing that will be missing, however, are international brands. This season will see only two brands from Taiwan join more than 50 Japanese brands.
“We aim to do our best to take advantage of the times that we are in due to the coronavirus pandemic, and to do things that are very Tokyo and that can only be done now,” Nobuyuki Ota, executive director of Japan Fashion Week Organization, said at a press event Wednesday.
After having moved its spring installment to the beginning of the international fashion calendar starting from last year, the upcoming fall season will once again take place after the other major fashion weeks, in order to not conflict with events such as Pitti Imagine Uomo.
“Two years ago when we first began discussing a possible schedule change, it was never our intention to be first on the international calendar, however we wanted to move the shows as early as possible for business reasons,” Ota said. Prior to last season, which ran from late August to early September, a common complaint among buyers was that the Tokyo shows were too late, and that by the time they rolled around many budgets had already been spent. The earlier slot was generally well received by both retailers and designers.