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July 13, 2011  | by: LaDawn Penigar-Mitchell

Japanese Design from Berlin Fashion Week

No one would have foreseen Japanese chic being a major theme at Berlin’s Spring/Summer 2012 Fashion Week. Everyone was abuzz over the seven Japanese designers who were given the chance to showcase their collections in two different shows last Saturday.  This offered the designers the unexpected opportunity to show their designs to a European audience after Japan Fashion Week was canceled in April as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami the month before.

At the separate runway show last Saturday, six of the designers presented women’s and men’s clothing wear, while the seventh designer focused solely on leather accessories. Models walked a horseshoe-shaped stage in front of a circular projection screen flashing images of orange cherry trees, animated Tokyo cityscapes and black and white geisha footage. The short show was repeated twice, which allowed a greater number of people to watch the presentations. The designers hoped to present their full collections, but each designer was forced to show only about four complete looks after German customs prevented the delivery of most of the clothing.

The Japanese show was full of a mixture of preppy and funky hipster elements.

Runway Dress by Japanese Designer

Japanese styles are often applauded in the fashion world and help set the standard for hipster trends. However, many Japanese designers struggle to present their collections in Europe and instead remain exclusively within the Asian market. Many of the designers who were in Germany last week were exposed for the first time to a wide audience outside Asia.

The trip to Germany was made possible by an initiative started by Japan’s fashion industry following the cancellation of Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo. Berlin may not be one of the four major cities for fashion, but it is gaining a reputation for new up-and-comers. Tokyo Goes Berlin brought 30 different Japanese designers and their collections to the German capitol, and seven were chosen to showcase their pieces from their collections on the runway. All of the designers were given free space to promote their labels to European buyers and modeling agencies donated the use of their models.

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