One of the best things I've gained in Tokyo are meeting fellow aspiring fashion designers like Yuhei and Shinya. I met them way back in 2009 (three years ago) while they were still finishing college in Sugino Fashion College. It was my first time in Tokyo then and I find it very memorable because I met friendly colleagues. Even if language was a bit of barrier between us, I still tried to keep in touch through Twitter~ Facebook~ Emails~ etc. Fast forward three years... I'm so proud to see my friends become young professionals in the fashion industry. One great admirable trait I've come to notice with my Japanese Designer friends are their passion and commitment to work hard for their dream. Fashion being a seemingly "superficial" industry and a "popularity contest" to most, I saw a spark of hope for pure intentions and sincere aspirations with them. I never hear them "thirst" for some cheap attention-seeking antics nor never have I seen them "social climb" just to be noticed. They're merely hardworking and noble to become successful with what they do. Now that's admirable. Yuhei has become an apparel designer for a Tokyo-based apparel brand and even sometimes lend me some of his creations for my styling gigs on TV... (and we have some collaborations as well haha)
Shinya on the other-hand, took a very interesting fashion direction of becoming a "Fashion Curator" which I find very interesting and very noble path in the fashion industry. One of the most curious questions I kept asking Shinya was why and how did he decide to become a fashion curator.
|THEN and NOW ~ haha! One of the best things I've gained in Tokyo are great, funny, fellow-aspiring hardworking fashion designer friends! It's nice that despite the distance we still remain friends!|
Upon asking Shinya this, I've learned so much things about the struggles of a young Japanese fashion designer. May be at first, I'm a bit naive and oblivious of the struggles one may have as an aspiring designer in a highly developed nation (and considering the fact that Tokyo is one of the Fashion Capitals of the world). But I've come to realize that as young aspiring fashion designers who dreams of making it in the fashion industry, we are all in the same boat. Just like Filipino suppliers and craft exporters, there's also a big struggle in terms of competing with China's cheap labor and cheap materials with Japanese authentic creations and designs. Hence, I've also learned from Shinya that in the past 10 years,several Japanese traditional textile factory has been going bankrupt, too. Like how I also see good craftsmanship here in the Philippines being compromised because of the steep competition with China, Japanese fashion and textile industry, despite being a highly developed nation, struggles with it as well.
It is really admirable and a noble cause that Shinya chose to become a fashion curator. After completing his Fashion Design in Sugino Fashion College, he got a scholarship in London College of Fashion and pursued Fashion Curation. I learned that because of the crises of both Japanese designers and textile factories, he was motivated to help improve, uplift and promote the Japanese Fashion designers through fashion curation.
By his nomad gallery named "SECORI GALLERY", he features several fashion designers who are more forward thinking and more inventive and sustain Japanese real original... and promote sustainable fashion.
It's so funny to see some designers in the world forget their heritage just because they set their foot on a foreign land, but I really admire Shinya's passion and loyalty to his roots. Even if he has moved to London to seek a more global market, he still remain a big fan of Japanese original, culture and artisan technic . Even after going abroad, his love for his heritage even grew even more.
|Please visit: http://secorigallery.com/ for more info.|
Now in support his noble cause of promoting Japanese Fashion to the world, I'd really like to come and see his second "Ethical Fashion Exhibition" in Tony's Gallery located at 68 Sclater Street, London | E1 6HR ( that's 3 mins on foot from Shordich High Street Station) that started last September 11th and will be running until the 17th of September. I wish London is just nearby... HAHA. But it's 6,000 Miles away from here! But to all my fashion-loving friends and colleagues who may happened to be in London at this time... I hope you can come and check-out Ethical Fashion Exhibit.
|NUSUMIGI by Yuma Yamamoku|
I am wishing for the success of this event and hoping someday it can grow bigger and have wider scope around the world. May be someday I'll come visit in SECORI GALLERY NYC...? PARIS? MILAN? I hope so! Ganbatte. Keep up the good work and continue aspiring and pursuing your good cause. Someday please feature me too haha (but that would be a problem because I'm not Japanese) Haha!