Japan Fashion Week Begins, But Will It Last?

Konnichiwa, Japan Fashion Week! Today marks the first day of the shortened four-day long Japanese Fashion Week. Regardless of the condensed time span, WWD tells us that there will be an estimated 40 runway shows this season, as well as a number of presentations and other fashion related events, with special attention being paid to men’s fashion and emerging designers.

Issey Miyake president and chief of JFW’s project committee Nobuyuki Ota told WWD that “customers and the buyers are a little bit tired of seeing the same…The market condition is terrible, but it’s in a good condition for the young designers.”

Emerging designers include brands such as Somarta, Mint Designs and Motonari Ono, Factotum, Phenomenon and Yoshio Kubo. (Click here for a full schedule of shows.)

But whether or not the fresh fashion faces will bring buyers is still to be determined. The Japanese government has already made plans to reduce their financial backing for the next fiscal year and supposedly plans to stop funding JFW completely in 2012.

Yuko Miwata, deputy director of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Fashion Policy Office, told WWD of said plans, “The government considers the fashion industry a growing field and decided to help JFW at the start…The government has already helped JFW for five years, and JFW should be able to run itself.”

Japanese Fashion Week has never been considered particularly influential, especially since it follows the most important shows of the season; New York, Paris, Milan. But Jane Birkin did show up in Tokyo today, giving the shows a boost of celebrity status.

Is a Birkin enough to save Japan Fashion Week? We hope so. Anyone who’s stepped foot in the country or seen pictures of the famed Harajuku girls knows how eclectic Japan’s style is and widespread its influence has the potential to be. So get it together JFW, and to Yuko Miwata: we ask that you keep your creative eyes wide open. You may not recognize any of the names on the roster of shows, but you will quickly recognize Japanese designers’ incredibly innovative pieces and acute attention to detail.

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