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Girl Fashion Talk #2

16 November 2008
Introduction
We talk fashion with four Japanese women in their early 20s over lunch in Shinjuku
On November 8, MEKAS. brought together four Japanese women in their early 20s to talk about fashion trends and personal style over lunch in the Tokyo neighborhood of Shinjuku.

The Cast of Characters:

Ms. M — Age 23, currently unemployed, recently moved to Tokyo from the countryside, reads Sweet and ViVi, shops at Shibuya 109 and Marui, aspirational brand: Jill Stuart

Ms. H — Age 22, office worker, recently moved to Tokyo from the countryside, reads Nuts, shops at Shibuya 109 and Marui, aspirational brand: D&G

Ms. F — Age 22, Flash designer, likes small unknown brands, studied abroad for two years in the United States

Ms. Y — Age 22, office worker, likes simple and basic clothing, aspirational brand: See by Chloé

A question for Ms. M and Ms. H, who have just moved to Tokyo from the countryside. Have you been paying more attention to fashion since you moved to Tokyo?

Ms. H: I haven't felt like I needed to try harder to dress well. It's just that in my hometown, I was limited to what items I could buy. In Tokyo, I can get anything that I see in a magazine. This really expands my fashion options.

Ms. M: I agree, and once I had my options expanded from moving here, I stopped reading magazines for advice. In my hometown, even if I saw something in a magazine and wanted to buy it, it would be sold out by the time I got to the store.

Ms. H: You always had to compromise on what you wore.

Ms. M: You couldn't get what you wanted.

Did you ever think about buying online?

Ms. M: I am of small stature, so readymade clothes always fit me strangely. Also, I want to buy things that have good material and stitching. I don't want to mess up by ordering the wrong thing. So I tend to just go to shops.

Ms. H: The thing I most dislike about mail order is that you can't try it on first. And it's a pain to return it.

What was the dominant style back home?

Ms. M: Most girls in our hometown read magazines like Zipper or Cutie and do that kind of street fashion. There are not very many options, so they just wear what the local stores sell. I think if more grown-up brands opened, they'd actually make a lot of money.

So now living in Tokyo, you are less dependent upon magazines for styling ideas?


Ms. H: There are still times when I rely on magazines.

Ms. M: When I choose clothing items, it's not that I actively want to do styling like in the magazines. I use magazines as a means of learning about the new trends. But I don't actually buy what the magazines say to buy. I look with my own eyes and buy what I like. So it comes down to, do I like this or not? There are lots of super trendy items that I have no interest in.

After you have the trend information from magazines, do you go to look at the clothing itself at stores?

Ms. H: I tend to know whether I will like something or not just from seeing it in the magazine, so if there is something I like, I go to the store, and if I don't like it, I'll just pass over it.

Ms. M: Back home, there are few opportunities to buy things, so you tend to fret over whether to buy trendy things even if you don't like them. Tokyo is overflowing with products and there are so many options, so you can really search for good things that are also cheap.

Are there times when you see something in magazines and then go to Shibuya 109 and they are already sold out?

Ms. M: All the stores in 109 are very similar, so even if the product in the magazine sells out, there is something that looks exactly the same from another brand. If you don't care about brand, there's no reason to worry about rushing to buy something.

Ms. H: Right now, rainbow sweaters are in style, and at first, the brand that made them had huge crowds, but then all the other brands at 109 started carrying them.

Ms. M: All the stores end up feeling the same.

Is every store offering similar clothes a good thing or bad thing?

Ms. M: It's a good thing that you can buy trendy items for cheap at some of the places, but it's boring when you want brands to have a personality.

How is the quality of clothing of the 109 brands?

Ms. M: The buttons will get loose after just wearing the item once, and they'll totally fall off once you wear it 2-3 times. The quality is not good.

Ms. Y: Yeah, that's certainly true.
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