Title: Sartorial symbiosis or creative commensalism? Collaborations between Japanese fashion designers and Western apparel makers

Authors: Nicolas Adam Cambridge

Addresses: London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DB, UK

Abstract: In recent years the creative outputs of a cohort of Japanese fashion designers have engendered widespread interest in the country's street and sub-cultural styles. This article charts the trajectories followed by these innovators in the early 21st century, making particular reference to cross-cultural collaborations undertaken with Western apparel makers. An introductory section documents a 'design diaspora' operating in sites ranging from the British high street to the centre of the bespoke tailoring trade. The main discussion compares early strategies facilitating entry to European markets with those mobilised for survival during a period of retrenchment - focusing on the commensal aspects of encounters with Western fashion that have reiterated a global cachet and reinvented local credibility. The conclusion suggests that a reverence for tradition, craft and the 'rag-picking' abilities displayed by these designers has facilitated colonisation of commercial niches dedicated to the resuscitation of certain classic marques of sartorial culture.

Keywords: globalisation; fashion industry; sartorial culture; creative collaborations; Japan; fashion design; cross-cultural collaboration; garment industry; apparel industry; clothing industry; apparel makers; market entry; Western fashion; commercial niches.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2016.073624

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2016 Vol.16 No.1, pp.38 - 49

Received: 08 Nov 2014
Accepted: 30 Apr 2015

Published online: 14 Dec 2015 *

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