The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
It goes without saying that Japanese pop culture is very popular in the United States. At Japanese festivals held in the United States, there is currently an explosion of American youth who attend wearing fashion similar to those typically seen in Harajuku. However, it isn't all because of the popularity of Goth/Lolita and Kawaii fashion in pop culture, in fact, the increase in the number of people who are interested in fashion is also because of Japanese designers who represent Japan.
What is "Japanese Fashion"? How did it influence the world? On March 17th, 2010, a lecture was conducted to answer these questions based on its history and background. This cultural lecture was carried out with the purpose of promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the United States by introducing Japanese fashion sense and characteristics to American opinion leaders through the key words "coexisting with nature" and "future design". Akiko Fukai, Director and Chief curator at The Kyoto Costume Institute was invited from Japan to speak about the aesthetics and philosophy of Japanese fashion and its big effects on world fashion.
Japanese fashion has had a big influence on the fashion world. Western painters such as Monet, Van Gogh and Manet drew many beautiful women draped with Kimono. Since the 80s, designer such as Miyake Issei, Kawakubo Rei, and Yamamoto Youji became active in world fashion circles. The concept of "harmony with the body" takes root in their sense of beauty, which is packed with the Japanese time-honored tradition of giving respect to natural beauty. Traditional and Modern, Order and Madness, Kawabata Yasunari and Manga, Wabi-sabi and Kawaii, these contrasting elements in Japanese culture are combined to form a unique beauty, which is fascinating to the world according to Ms. Fukai.
The Shumei Arts Counsel, located 30 minutes by car from Los Angeles in the stylish town of Pasadena where many artists live, co-sponsored this lecture, which was intended for the public. With over 80 people in attendance, extra seats had to be provided for this overwhelmingly successful event. Fashion Designer, Tadashi Shoji, purveyor to Hollywood female celebrities was also in attendance along with a large gathering of designers from every category and professors from local fashion colleges.
The next day, on March 18th, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) co-sponsored a lecture that was held for people interested in fashion. There were 20 attendees who are involved in the Los Angeles fashion industry. This wasn't just a lecture, but became a significant event where various ideas related to fashion were exchanged. In continuing with this theme, LACMA is planning an exhibition and lecture related to fashion.