Japan Fashion Week Goes On

japan fashion week
Photo courtesy of Japan Fashion Week
A look from the In Process by Hall Ohara collection during Japan Fashion Week.

Following March’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Japan Fashion Week presentations were the last thing on anyone’s mind. But now, as the country slowly but surely finds its footing, fashion designers are looking to support the Japanese economy by going on with the shows—any way they can.

“We postponed our fashion show and thought it might not be appropriate to organize a fashion show using quite some electricity while evacuees are suffering [in] their daily life,” Hokuto Katsui and Nao Yagi, designers of Mintdesigns, told Elle. The designers found it “inappropriate to actively promote fashion at the time.”

The disaster was still close to heart when Katsui and Yagi recently presented their show, but they asked for donations and raised $2,500 for the relief effort. Other designers passed on runway presentations, instead opting for live-streaming shows, staging scaled-back previews, and distributing look books, while a label called Araisara reportedly minimized its energy use by presenting in natural light.

Many Japanese fashion insiders felt that canceling Fashion Week altogether would send the wrong message. “The retail, knitting, textiles and manufacturing businesses in the Tohoku area have been hit quite badly. To support these businesses, brands need to keep promoting, and we—as consumers—need to continue buying their products,” said Reiko Kuwabara, who works for WGSN.

“We were undecided on what to do when the actual earthquake hit, due to the shock of what happened,” said Steven Hall and Yurika Ohara, designers of In-Process by Hall Ohara. “But as time went on and, speaking to many people about the situation, we decided to show.” The label postponed its show until mid-April.

Supporting the industry is more important than ever, the In-Process designers say. “We wanted to help show that the Japanese fashion industry has the ability to step up and show we are still organized and the situation is more stable than people think.”

Get the full story at Elle.com, and check out the Japan Fashion Week collections.

Also, see how the rest of the fashion industry has responded to the devastation in Japan.