Saturday, August 15, 2009

J-Pop Culture - Center Opens in San Francisco!

Japanese Street Fashion looks likely to explode on the streets of San Francisco with the opening of a store that is the first in America to sell some of the leading designs.

Up to now, devotees have quietly been importing clothes from Japan or making their own. Japantown today though was the day when the fashion, part of Japanese popular culture, really took to the streets.

The J-Pop Summit Festival was the party to celebrate the arrival of such designer labels as Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Alice and the Pirates, 6%DokiDoki and

Black Peace Now.

Girls paraded in colourful, elaborate costumes, many of which are an artistic version of Alice in Wonderland, accessorized from head to toe. There was an open-air fashion show, music from MTV Iggy with live bands, plenty of food stalls and, outside and in of the store that was the centre of attention, long, long queues.

'I just really like the way you can express yourself as something different, it's not just limited to conventional ways of dress,' said Marissa, who was turned out in an outfit she had made herself.

'This is something I actually wear to work - I'm an in-house artist for a website company,' she said. Her company was 'really lax about a dress code. They really encourage me to dress the way I want.'

Kaydie and Kristin posed for a pic and a cluster of admirers with cameras started clicking.

Kaydie has been following the fashion for about two years, 'ever since I got my first dress for Christmas,' while Kristin

has been interested for seven years and bought her first dress about five years ago.

The fashion has many genres, one of the main ones being 'Lolita,' but not connected to the infamous film of the same name. 'Baby', the most popular of the designer labels to come to San Francisco, specializes in Lolita which has sub-genres including Classic, Gothic, Punk and Sweet Lolita.

Kaydie was wearing another designer, a red Angelic Pretty in the style of Sweet Lolita, and Kristin in pink was styled as Hime - 'princess' - Lolita.

Many girls in San Francisco either make their own dresses, as Kristin had done, or take a design to a seamstress said Kristin. Some even design their own print first and have the material made up.

Part of the homemaking popularity was cost as the store designs are very expensive, especially for younger girls, she said. The fashion is popular with girls from their mid-teens to later twenties' and older girls tend to wear black-based designs with straighter skirts.

But there seemed to be no shortage of spending money this afternoon at New People that had thrown it's doors open. According to an internet site for devotees, some people had even travelled from LA.

'People are so ready! I've been getting emails from a month ago!' said the President and CEO of New People World and VIZ Pictures, Seiji Horibuchi.

Last night as he was in the store preparing for the opening, girls were walking up and down the street asking him what time this morning they needed to line up by!

'It's like a whole community,' he said. 'It's totally a Japanese original. It doesn't look like it,' he said of the style that has refashioned something of a young girl's Victorian look. The store is also selling artifacts, for example, lamps and ornaments, toys, books and a range of ties.

Most of the items have come from individual craftspeople and are being sold in the USA for the first time. The buyers, he said, had had one hectic year finding interesting goods. On the top floor of the J-Pop center is an art gallery, and in the basement is the VIZ Cinema showing Japanese films.

pics show: models at the fashion show; Marissa; Kadie and Kristin; the New People store.

1 comment:

Chloe said...

I'm from the UK and wish I was there so it's great to read an article about this!