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Monday, April 20, 2009

Talking Trash

For designers Yoshizaku Yamagata and Kentaro Tamai of the Japanese label writtenafterwards, Japan Fashion Week earlier this month was all about crumpled paper, silver foil and plastic wrap. But while radical, whimsical and made from trash, their creations are a refreshing change from Japan's ubiquitous minimalism and Eurocentrism. Think Undercover, but even more eccentric.

The fall 09 collection—their fourth—had to do with themes of personal inadequacy, triumph and transcendence. As Yamagata (formerly of John Galliano) explains, “I had this idea for a story when I was on the bus back to my hometown at the end of the year. Zero-ten-kun (literally, “the boy who is worth zero points”) despairs for himself and the world around him. But he doesn’t give up, and in this way he is very charming.”

Taking the notion of zero-ten-kun to heart, the two Central Saint Martins grads visited Japan's fashion schools and collected fabric off-cuts with which to create their own pieces, adding other random materials. The results were indeed charming, in an unconventional sense: plastic refuse was made to look like wings, a pink cap was shaped like a sugarplum and folds of paper were whisked upward and wayward.

Championing detritus is not exactly new, and no matter how noble, it's an enterprise that attracts its fair share of critics. But Yamagata-san says the clothes are simply a reflection of their mindset. “We try to create outside the usual concept of fashion and the delicate expression associated with Japan.”

—David Stuckbury

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