Clothes that Mature like Fine Wine

Fashion designer Junya Tashiro opened an exhibition of his unique fashion creations at Tokyo Midtown’s Design Hub, September 28th-30th.

poster for Junya Tashiro

Junya Tashiro "Ragxury"

at Tokyo Midtown Design Hub
in the Roppongi, Nogizaka area
This event has ended - (2007-09-28 - 2007-09-30)

In Reviews by Kevin Mcgue 2007-10-08

Junya Tashiro on the catwalk

Junya Tashiro was born in 1974, in Saga Prefecture, in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. In other words, almost as far from the fashion capital of Tokyo as is geographically possible. Tashiro graduated from a design university, and worked at an apparel maker before going independent and starting his own label in 2004. He first joined Japan Fashion Week a short time later, in September, 2006, presenting his ’07 Spring/Summer creations. Tashiro remains based in Kyushu, having set up his atelier and office in Kyushu’s largest city, Fukuoka; indeed, “Made in Fukuoka” is printed on the labels of many of his clothes. Geographically, he is far removed from his fellow designers, many of whom are based in the Sendagaya district of Tokyo. Creatively, Tashiro also sets himself apart from his colleagues. While shimmering blacks and silvers, skull and crossbone motifs, and high-tech fabrics are typical of the young Tokyo designers, Tashiro works in natural fabrics, using earthy colors.

Ballet performance at the Tokyo Midtown showThe 'Made in Fukuoka' label

While many Tokyo-based designers present a hyper-refined look, Tashiro describes his creations as “clothes that will mature,” aging like a fine wine, but also becoming more comfortable like an old sofa or favorite sweater. “The more you wear and wash your clothes, the more they become familiar to you, and the more you feel comfortable in them,” Tashiro explains. “If apparel has a nice feel to it to begin with, after 5 years, or 10 years, you will think ‘this is better now than when I bought it.’ I want to make apparel based on the idea that good clothing doesn’t get old, but matures.” Indeed, the theme for this exhibition was “Ragxury,” a clever blending of “rag” and “luxury,” as the Japanese language does not distinguish between the pronunciation of “ra” and “lu”.

In the collection show on September 1st, also at Tokyo Midtown, Tashiro wanted to make his beliefs about comfortable clothing clear by having ballerina dance effortlessly in one of his creations, a breathtaking performance that wowed the audience.

Junya Tashiro's clothes backstage

The centerpiece of this exhibition was an example of Tashiro’s concept of “Ragxury,” a dress made of various scraps leftover from the making of other dresses, resulting in many layers of different textures. This was then dyed overnight…in tea! The various materials absorbed the tea in different ways, leading to an organic color scheme. Many visitors to the exhibition also stopped to look at a teddy bear that seems to represent Tashiro’s design philosophy—cute, but with a slightly rough hand-made feel.

During this fashion exhibition, Design Hub was also holding the “Asian Digital Art Award” exhibition, proving that this new venue will continue to offer an exciting variety of exhibitions.

Kevin Mcgue

Kevin Mcgue. Kevin Mcgue has been hanging around Tokyo since 2000. Among the obsessions that have kept him in Japan so long are fashion, urban photography, Japanese Showa culture, world cinema, robots, architecture, street music, plastic food samples, and obscure museums and galleries. He writes about these obsessions at Tokyo Street Report. » See other writings

Comments

  1. tokuon
    2007-12-06

    Just a few quick thoughts on the interesting contradictions in Tashiro’s work:

    First and most obvious, the venue. High-end casual luxury that denies itself. Rags made to last vs. the “quality” of the Luxurious made to last until next season (which is his). I can’t help but wonder how much his clothes cost.

    Redefining luxury as ragxury. Very interesting. Then again, what is he doing besides putting a brand name onto what so many young people do with clothes from 古着屋? I know what he is doing…taking advantageous of a great opportunity to capitalize on a trend. Purists from the world of art or that of academics would call him a sell-out. But high fashion is like that, isn’t it. Commodies priced according to their artistic value.

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