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Tokyo Girls Collection - 2008 Autumn/Winter

18 September 2008
Introduction
22,700 turn out in celebration of "real clothes" at the Autumn/Winter installment of Xavel's Tokyo Girls Collection
The seventh installment of semi-annual "real clothes" fashion festival Tokyo Girls Collection (TGC) took place on September 6, coming right at the heels of Japan Fashion Week (JFW). (Previous MEKAS. report on the TGC phenomenon here.) Despite great interest from overseas audiences, TGC has yet to become an official part of JFW, and too bad: nothing sums up the mainstream of Japanese fashion culture than over 20,000 young women congregating to watch runway shows of instantly-purchasable clothing. JFW may present the "future" of Japanese designer fashion, but TGC is a celebration of the here and now.

Held at the Yoyogi National Stadium, this year's event brought together 70 star models, 23 brands, and three musical acts. The format was almost identical to its rival Kobe Collection (even sharing a few models and brands), but the scale was somewhat larger.

After three-and-a-half successful years, the organizers of Tokyo Girls Collection have abandoned any modesty about their event. The opening sequence described in bombastic English how the once-underdog e-commerce-related event has spiraled out into a full-fledged global pop cultural phenomena. But founder Xavel (soon to take on the new corporate name Branding) deserves all the credit in the world. Of course the event is a big advertisement for their super popular e-commerce sites girlswalker.com and fashionwalker.com. But more critically, the company took a loose group of fashion styles popular among Japan's post-gyaru female population and rebranded the entire movement with the memorable two-words "real clothes." By packaging this fashion market segment together with a semi-annual event and corresponding celebrities, Xavel has transformed the "real clothes" idea into an exportable property. (Beijing already experienced their own TGC as part of CHIC in March of this year.)

As the doors opened at 2 p.m., young women rushed the stadium floor to stake out the best standing room near the stage, to the ironic sounds of cattle bells ringing out from advertisers' free giveaway booths. Despite muggy summer heat, girls dressed in head-to-toe autumn trends: bohemian lambswool, tartan check, and thousands of vests. Berets and fuzzy white hats were also extremely popular. And of course, Cher eco bags.
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