‘Omiyage’ meets fashion?

Fashion Trends Trends & Culture - May 15th, 2013

Not only can you buy souvenirs while traveling around the country in the upcoming months, but you can also wear them. In an effort to perhaps promote tourism, or simply Japanese culture, the ubiquitous Uniqlo is launching a special “NIPPON OMIYAGE” (‘Japanese Souvenir’) collection, with T-shirts featuring familiar sights and Tokyo favourites.

The collection is somewhat random: there’s the obvious Mount Fuji and Sky Tree, but also Narita Airport and… a mosquito coil? A team of international graphic designers have apparently teamed up to create a collection that reflects their memories of traveling around Japan, and most of them are quite spectacular.

The designs are very playful and don’t look like any old souvenir trinket picked up at a tourist shop, so don’t expect any “… and all I got was this T-shirt” lines. Even though we felt hesitant at the idea of a Narita Airport shirt, the plane looks pretty good wedged between kanji, and the Mount Fuji shirt is reminiscent of the Comme des Garçons’ Play line, with a face-bearing red heart and the name in katakana.

We’d definitely buy the fireworks one and the Sky Tree, as they somehow made it look cool – perfect for gifts to family and friends abroad. Shinjuku, Kyoto and Odaiba are even part of the lot…

If you’ve stocked up on enough tees, totes and handkerchiefs, you can also pick up a typically Japanese item, the versatile furoshiki – that piece of cloth that’s used for everything, from wrapping up bento boxes to presents, or just to carry as a bag. You can even pack up a watermelon in a pretty intricate way to take to your Sunday picnic.

The best part is, they’re insanely cheap (T-shirts are under ¥1,000), so you might keep all those saved coins for your train tickets to hop around the country and give Japan a further tourism boost. Which is your favorite?

Main image: Shinjuku design by Andrew Joyce.