Sartorial symbiosis or creative commensalism? Collaborations between Japanese fashion designers and Western apparel makers
by Nicolas Adam Cambridge
International Journal of Business and Globalisation (IJBG), Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016

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.

Online publication date: Mon, 14-Dec-2015

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