Japan is one of few places in the world that is conservative in most aspects of daily life, yet, when it comes to fashion, Japanese people truly embody their own character and individuality. Fashion plays an integral role in the creativity of Japan.

Weekend street style is expressive, dramatic, and stands in distinction to many westerners’ perceptions that Japan is a traditional culture. There is a desire to stand out, and an acceptance from others to go all out.

As part of the initiative to explore the creativity and design of Japan, we checked out Tokyo’s turn for the world’s most influential fashion event—Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week—when it came into town at Shibuya’s Hikarie, as well as one of Asia’s most popular runway shows, Tokyo Runway.

The runway shows from Japanese designers fall in line with some of the same concepts as their designs: less commercial and more individualist. Check any high fashion website, and you can see a brand’s full collection for the upcoming season online. But the way these designers showcase their pieces on the runway with a very specific vision in mind is a different story to be told.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

To get a broad sense of what Japanese fashion has to offer, we attended four shows that represented the full range of style and fashion that exists here in Japan. The contemporary, the vintage, the completely eccentric, and the imaginative. Here is first a look at the pre and post show:



Onitsuka Tiger x Andrea Pompilio


First, we attended a vintage-meets-modern show. One of Japan’s oldest shoe companies by ASICS, Onitsuka Tiger, teamed up with an Italian menswear designer, recently launched in 2010, in a line of accessories and ready-to-wear men and women’s clothing. The collection integrates the classic sportswear look together with a modern, international design by Andrea Pompilio, presumably targeted at a younger, “cooler” audience. The collection was showcased through the theme of “Urban Spaceman,” with a full silver bodysuit intro onto a snowboarding and motorcycle helmut accessory finale.  Click below to see more:



In the big hall of Shibuya Hikarie, Hiromichi Ochiai showcased his autumn/winter collection of men’s and women’s clothing. Both men and women, however, demonstrated a sportier, masculine-inspired design with baggy outerwear on women and statement prints. Click below to see more:


A Degree Fahrenheit

A fairly new brand launched in 2011, A Degree Farenheit by Yu Amatsu displayed a classic yet contemporary collection. The focus on the shape and structure of his design shined through the show with a progression of dark to light hues. Amatsu also incorporated statement accessories with large belts and fur touches. Click below to see more:

Alice auaa


A strong community of followers, this brand has been described as punk, fetish, new wave, and gothic. Designer Yasutaka Funakoshi of Kobe launched the brand in 1995, and it has since been worn by the wildly eclectic style of Lady Gaga.

To see more images from the runway shows, stay tuned for our post on Tokyo Runway!

Photos: Akira Furukawa