"Fashion at the speed of life"

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It isn’t rare for a store to open in New York City in which H&M opened a store last Thursday.  However,  when a store comes all the way from Japan representing a novelty fashion craze I stopped and stood in line. My sister and  I headed down to 158 allen st (just near revington) to see Sweet Lolitas, visual keis and other punks wait for the grand opening of combo store, Baby the star shines bright and Tokyo Rebel.

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We stood in line for 2 hours and since no pictures are allowed in the store, we took pictures of those waiting line.

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The two hour wait wasn’t in vain since when we went into the store, we meet logoed barets, ruffled dresses in beautiful prints, crochet cardigans while on the other side Toyo Rebel covered studded pants, graphic tees with rock legend logos and grommets everywhere.

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Oddly, for a Sweet Lolitas brand, BSSB had no Kawaii accessories. We did find teddy bear bags that my sister snagged (even though she was dressed for Tokyo Rebel) while I snagged a pocket watch necklace from Tokyo Rebel (dressed as a Sweet Lolita). The price tags are in Yen but the converted price includes port fees, county tax and sales tax bringing the final price up to 40% but the customers aren’t phased by this nor the 250 price tags on most dresses.

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In any rate, the day was great and we had to think maybe it wasn’t just a novelty fashion craze, it was something beautiful,  a way to shed tension and to relax. There was also a spirit of friendship.

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If you live in the NYC area, visit BSSB and Tokyo Rebel on 158 Allen St and for more Kawaii fun check out kawaiiland on July 25 at stage 48, from 6 to 11pm. Tickets are 15 dollars and are sold here.

I always loved the range of new artist. Even when you think there are enough of music stars on the horizon; a new band comes out with a new twist on the same theme and you fall in love again. Lately, there has been a lot of singers that seem to sound like the famous songstresses of the past and some in the not so distant past. The question: Does sounding like someone else an insult or are they paying homage?

Similar sound and similar styles – Flattery or insult?

Grande vs Mariah Carey

We had high hopes for this Disney star but she hit the scene with a remake of “Emotions” which did without creating her own sound but sounding so much like Mariah Carey, she was nick-named “Little Mariah”. Then the hip hop song, “F***ing Problems” featuring A$AP seamed even more similar to Mariah Carey circa 1990′s. On an interview with Power 101.5, Mariah Carey said she was offended by the comparison. The young singer has even been styled like Mariah Carey, with sequin accented dresses and pulled back locks. Grande dreams of being the next Mariah Carey but she isn’t exactly dead. Yes, here last album did not sell well but the singer should not be counted as out of the game just yet. What do you think? Insult or flattery?

Karmin vs Nicki Minaj

It use to be that singers covered popular bands in order to find their sound but now they may be using it to get record deals and even discount the artist that already coined it. I had high hopes for Karmin (real-life couple Amy Heidemann and Nick Louis Noonan). Instead, Heidemann covered various Nicki Minaj songs then called here out on one of her songs:

“I ain’t happy seeing how it is/ Stop all the comparing me, no Nicki Minaj-erie/ Let me out the cage so I can fizz/ Cause all the femininity is looking for a rapper queen/ Banking on Azealia and Iggy/ Pretty damn amazing what you’ll do to be a star.”

Nicki Minaj smartly changed her sound; making Karmin irrelevant. However, there may be something to covering someone else’s song and making it their claim to fame.

The point is that music is a way to express yourself in an way other can relate and you can relate to yourself as well. The grass-root movement and fashion meets music craze are both examples of originality. If you do not have it, then do you really deserve to be a musician?

When Moon Rhee opened his boutique in spring of 2007, his mission was to showcase his line along with some of the fantastic vintage pieces he’s acquired over the years by the likes of Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garçons, and Yohji Yamamoto. The store is about 25% vintage to 75% of Moon’s own line aptly named DEAR:. The designs are made in Korea and Japan. They feature tailored avant-garde shapes with minimalistic prints (polka dots, plaids, stripes, etc.)

The store is named Dear: Rivington + after the street in which it is now located and another store is to open this month.

We were lucky to find a video interview of Moon Rhee at his store on Rivington only a few blocks away from his home he shares with creative director (and wife) Hey Ja.

Check out their store located on the lower east side – 95 Rivington St,New York, NY 10002.

Founded in Osaka, Japan in 1988, Evisu  is  well-known for premium denim wear made through traditional labor-intensive methods. Founder Hidehiko Yamane named the brand Evis, after Levis because he believes that Levis 501 are the best jeans ever made. He later changed the name  to Evisu, as it was close to Ebisu, the Buddhist deity of fishermen, good fortune and business prosperity.

Evisu also makes t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, suits, accessories and shoes. They make both clothing for Men and Women. Chris Brown is a fan of the label.

 

Evisu Women Photo belongs to thegrandnarrativefiles.wordpress.com

Evisu Men

Chris Brown Wears Evisu

A Bathing Ape  was founded by Nigo (Tomoaki Nagao) in 1993.  The inspiration for his brand name ‘A Bathing Ape’ comes from the movie ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968) and a Japanese saying, ‘a bathing ape in lukewarm water,’ which basically refers to a spoiled person! (lol) Although, A Bathing Ape is especially famous for its t-shirts, the company’s products include a wide range of fashion items from hoodies to footwear.  They also have a NYC location!

Milo ABC Multi Polo $184 http://www.bape.myshopify.com

 

 

Japan has exploded onto the American market for a couple of years now and has gained momentum with all the Sweet Lolitas popping up everywhere. But little do people know that  the Kawaii and Sweet Lolita craze aren’t really that big in Japan and those costume looks are actually equivalent to our Star Wars Geeks and People who troll Comic Con. Instead cool Japanese girls are into over-sized cartoon and Pop art printed sweaters, neon bobs and sneakers! So I have decided to dedicate a week to Japanese labels that put the “cool” in Japanese Fashion!

Toga was created in 1997 by designer Yasuko Furuta who is known for her avant-garde silhouettes and deconstructed  knit wear. she has won the prestigious Mainichi Fashion Award on several occasions! Katy Perry is a huge fan of this label!

Only top is available on http://www.net-a-porter.com $295

Toga Intarsia wool-blend turtleneck sweater $425 http://www.net-a-porter.com

Skirt is available on http://www.net-a-porter.com $320

Thomas Tait from London wins LVMH young designer award.

Thomas Tait

A dozen designers were picked out of a pool of 1221 applicants to participate in LMVH prize for young fashion designers which comes with a grand prize of 300,000 euros prize and mentoring by the group. The second and third place winners go home with 100,000 euros each.  We have all read about the winner, Thomas Tait. He spoke to NY Magazine about his future endeavors, he stated:

I would definitely like to move into accessories — handbags and leather goods. Shoes are something I already do, but I haven’t had the capacity to produce or sell them. And I definitely want to look into doing something in the distant future with skin care.

The designer’s clothing line walks the line between structure and flow, using a combination of rigid fabrics and somehow making them into cape-like extensions. His spring line produced an interesting color story with an trip into color with iridescent sheen and sweaters that did not make it into his winter collection, which was an interesting juxtaposition.

Hood by Air

Hood by Air won 2nd place with a prize of 100,000 euros.

Hood by air, from Minnesota, took second place (and 100,000 euros) with their urban wear men collection that featured bright colors, jersey style prints and well tailored pants. His women’s wear is less known but feature a menswear cut with square shoulders, wide sleeves and long lengths. Even Elle remarked:

“…with a parade of voguing dancers and clothes that defied easy categorization into male versus female and streetwear verus fashion”

The designer sat down with complex.com to discuss the motives behind his design described as 1990′s street wear staples but his love of color most likely originates from his time in Trinidad while the urban undertone came from moving to East New York, new jersey when he was 11.

Miuniku

sisters, Nikita and Tina Sutradhar of Miuniku

The final winner hails from India and is a pair of sisters who called their brand, Miuniku, a misspelling of the Japanese word “Minikui” which means ugly or hard to see. The sisters themselves,Nikita and Tina Sutradhar, sat down with Interview magazine to state the inspiration behind their winning collection, called “Mundane things”:

“The whole inspiration behind this collection was actually boring, daily chores,” Tina reveals of their newest work, the aptly titled “Mundane Things.” “Everything from washing and drying laundry to cleaning the house,” she continues. “The graphics came from repetitive patterns we noticed in things like dish drainers, our silhouettes from the shape of a bathrobe and how you tie the belt around yourself. Have you heard of Daz laundry detergent? The colors we chose came from the box—its blues, yellows, reds and oranges.”

Indeed, based on the name of thier brand, we can see how the sisters pull what would be seen as ugly, boring or just hard to see the beauty in as inspirations for their line. The clothing line has the cuts of Celine but the bright colors of Chanel and the inspiration of early Alexander McQueen who saw beauty in the oddest places.

We will surely see more of these designers in the future as they shape new paths for fashion.

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