In every era the inventions of Japanese fashion have been fascinating and revolutionary. In the 1920s and 30s Japan saw its own aesthetic form, which had inspired and reinvigorated European art and design since the nineteenth century, reflected back in a glorious Art Deco flapper age.
In the midst of Japan’s economic miracle, the rise of Rei Kawakubo and Comme de Garçon, along with Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, challenged European attitudes of how clothing and the body can and should go together, deconstructing shape and function, and forming a Japanese style that was truly avant-garde.
Toby Slade investigates these key moments in the history of Japanese fashion, including a consideration of the Slow Life Movement in Japan and its influence on new forms of luxury fashion inspired by the values of simplicity, sustainability and durability.
Dr Toby Slade has lived and worked in Japan for over 15 years lecturing in fashion and art at Bunka Gakuen University and Keio University. His research focuses on Asian responses to modernity seen through art objects of the everyday including fashion and popular culture. His book, Japanese Fashion: A Cultural History (2009) examined the modernity of Japanese clothing and the implications of that unique sartorial history on contemporary theories of fashion. His recent book Introducing Japanese Popular Culture presents the latest scholarship on contemporary Japan especially in fashion and contemporary art. His current research focuses on the history and contemporary forms of luxury and its changing meaning. He is a founding member of the Research Collective for Decolonialising Fashion.
Dr Toby Slade’s talk is supported by the Critical Fashion Studies Collective at The University of Melbourne.