Leading fashion magazine CanCam has been going for over thirty years and now it has finally got itself its own exclusive male model.
After launching the careers and seeing immense success in the heyday of Japanese magazine publishing with the likes of Norika Fujiwara and Ryoko Yonekura, and most famous the trio of Moe Oshikiri, Yu Yamada and Yuri Ebihara (aka Ebi-chan), now CanCam has finally turned to a man to prop up its brand.
Yuuki Sawa is a nineteen-year-old sophomore student at Rikkyo University in Tokyo and this is his first modeling gig, which isn’t a bad debut by any standards. He was spotted by the editor of CanCam during the Mr Rikkyo Contest, where he was one of the judges.
CanCam’s prime readers are said to be young office ladies and female college students looking for tips for how to be mote-kei, i.e. popular with the boys.
Its name is an inventive if bizarre take on “I can campus”… whatever that means. Since the departure of Ebihara as its main cover model a few years back, its fortunes have famously declined, along with most fashion titles, though the one-time boom in offering omake fashion item giveaways helped boost sales for many. (For a comparison of the first ever issue of CanCam and the thirtieth anniversary issue in 2011, see this interesting article on Néojaponisme.)
Yuuki Sawa’s debut in the magazine is in the January 2014 issue, which went on sale last week. As he is a senzoku moderu (exclusive contract model), we can look forward to regular appearances by him every month.
Can Yuuki Sawa and this new gimmick by CanCam help the magazine regain its once lofty circulation of 500,000 during the Ebihara days?
Thank God for hipsters. When all else fails and the media is amok with already notorious reports (supported by dubious stats) that Japanese people apparently no longer have sex, you can always at least rely on the fashionista to still find ways to enjoy themselves.
Tweed Run Tokyo took place on October 14th, featuring some 150 tweed-dressed cyclists going for a ride around the city. No, they weren’t out on some stag hunt, nor was this a Sherlock Holmes fanatics’ event. It was actually part of Fashion Week and is a spin-off from the original Tweed Run in London. The British version started in 2009, while the Tokyo “run” happened first in 2012 and with the amount of publicity it generated, surely next year’s edition is a sure thing.
“It’s so Tokyo, I would say,” one of the participants told the media. “We are using this traditional fabric in many modern ways. It’s part of the diversity of fashion.”
“So Tokyo”? Well, I wouldn’t say that. Except for the odd bit of Aoyama backstreet tomfoolery, you’d be hard-pressed to find many regular folk dressing as dapper as this. Still it makes a change from the usual exquisitely, expensively decked-out runners and cyclists that can be glimpsed around the Imperial Palace.
Given that this is the nation that created the culture of cosplay, we shouldn’t be in the least surprised that 150 cyclists jumped at the chance to dress up for a group bike ride.
This year’s event saw the costumed bikers tour leisurely from Gaienmae to Ginza over a couple of hours, and the participants seemed like a reasonable mix of ages, though it was clearly male-dominated.
We wonder whether they could introduce some sort of Japanese flavor to the proceedings. How about cycling around in kimono? Oh, hang on…
Anyone who lives in Nagoya can check out the city’s own version of the Tweed Run — remember, it’s cycling, not jogging — on October 26th (barring another typhoon).
Japanese fashion retailing giant UNIQLO launched a new digital tool on October 1st. UNIQLO HairDo uses Pinterest to offer people a way to share examples of hair styles coordinated with UNIQLO’s 2013-2014 autumn and winter line-up.
The brand has also organized this via its recently opened global Pinterest account in an attempt to create a single social media platform that is universal across its ever increasing number of markets in regions around the world.
The tool has the pop, clean feel we have come to expect from UNIQLO, and features mirrors positioned to show faces of models as you scroll through animations of the stages of creating the hair style that they recommend to match the clothing items.
The outfits are, of course, for sale and you can jump straight from UNIQLO HairDo to the UNIQLO online store in various countries. UNIQLO HairDo will also be offered in other languages in the future, including Chinese, English, French and Korean.
UNIQLO is famed for its innovative approach to digital tools and campaigns, which it now calls “life tools”. Since 2007 it has had great success with the addictive Uniqlock, the dancing girls blog widget, the tilt-shift montage Uniqlo Calendar, and last year’s UNIQLO Wake-Up app, with music produced by Keigo Oyamada (Cornelius).
One of those myths about Japan is the used panties vending machine. Well, these blogger at least has heard of genuine panty vending machines (at least the machines were real, though we can’t vouch for the validity of the “used” factor) but at any rate, they were very much in areas of town not visited by most of the population.
Now this may well do something to off-set the myth — or it might just tip the balance further into the “wacky Japan” zone.
Wacoal, one of the country’s leading lingerie makers, will be offering products from the wireless bra series Fun Fun Week by its subsidiary une nana cool for a limited time in Shibuya Parco. Okay, nothing new there, right? Except that the new autumn collection products are being sold via a vending machine.
So there you have it. A bra-dispensing vending machine.
You can purchase your bras at the vending machine from August 9th to 31st at Shibuya Parco, and then from September 1st to 30th at the une nana cool store in Futako-Tamagawa.
No decent pictures are available of the vending machine itself yet, but no doubt after it opens today there will be some floating around. Will this perpetuate more myths? Or are une nana cool bras cute enough to raise above the sniggering tide?
Japan’s netizens are reacting with customary venom to the images of lackadaisical youngsters wearing their clothes like traditional sashes, which may or may not be the latest fashion trend about to explode.
The idea is you take a shirt or some other item of clothing and tie it round your shoulders like tasukigake.
You may have seen actual tasukigake sashes being worn by calligraphers, or in martial arts or samurai dramas. The cord runs diagonally across the back originally to hold up the sleeves of a kimono so that they don’t get in the way while you are doing something (calligraphy, combatting opponents, traditional dancing etc).
Here are some examples of what it looks like.
See how the cord can prove practical for kimono-clad warriors (regardless of gender!).
Here is how to tie one.
The images that have surfaced showing people creating quasi-tasuigake with shirts or other items have engendered scoffs and ridicule from some online commentators, who argue it is a “pointless” trend that will not catch on.
This blogger at least, while hardly being a fashionista, has actually yet to see this “trend” anyway. Has anyone else seen them around Tokyo? (We also have a bit of trouble even seeing a real resemblance between ordinary tasukigake and the “trend”.)
Or is it just another case of much ado about nothing that exists only in the digital sphere?
Update: Thanks to Claire Tanaka for reminding us that tasuki are also the sashes worn by politicians and beauty pageant queens etc. They look much more like these, but the online comments we’ve read (so far) are mostly pointing out that the “fashion” is ridiculous for being like either something out of the “Edo” or “Bubble” era.
On July 12th visitors to Yoyogi Park may have spotted some clothes that had been left in the hedges and foliage like garbage.
But far from being discarded items of apparel by profligate Tokyoites, this stunt was part of a fashion show being held at Shibuya Parco Part 1 earlier in the day.
The “2.5D” fashion show by Tetsuya Yamamoto’s Potto brand for its 2013 collection (Yamamoto’s first collection in five years) is now on sale at the Shibuya Parco’s MEETSCAL store until August 9th.
For the Yoyogi Park guerilla fashion promo event, a radio was also left at the site playing atmospheric dialogue about urban legends, and the 15 items of clothing were “decorated” with garbage bags. Visitors were not prevented from picking up and taking a look at the “found fashion” items, though we presume staff were around to stop people from actually taking things home.
The show at Parco was also anything but conventional — a pseudo-installation event with guitar performances integrated with photography and video. The clothes were modeled like they were recycled items, igniting new ideas about our values towards materials and apparel.
And the award for July’s cutest use of augmented reality mobile interaction goes to Dentsu, for this Asoberu T-Shirt (“Playable T-Shirt”).
It works with a dedicated phone app to allow you to have fun with the wearer and the worn. For example, with your smartphone you can make characters and motifs “pop” out of the t-shirt and then play with them on your screen. Alternatively shoot arrows at hearts or turn a girl into a funky deck-spinning DJ.
You can make people “fight” with anime-style power beams — and unscrupulous guys will no doubt soon find ways to embarrass girls wearing the t-shirt.
The video nicely illustrates the things you can do.
The models are Yumemi Nemu and Mirin Furukawa.
It is being sold exclusively via BEAMS in an initial series inspired by the anime Gindama and others. There are five tees at the moment, priced ¥4,200. The app, available for Android and iOS systems, is free.
While the technology itself isn’t new, we find the kawaii presentation irresistible.
Japan’s largest retailer Aeon is offering yukata (cotton summer kimono) this year with peach and soap fragrances.
Part of its new “adult kawaii” range of hundreds of summer items, the yukata feature contact cooling sensation materials with peach and soap fragrances — apparently a first for Japan.
The yukata are for women, men and kids, and priced in the ¥9,800 to ¥12,800 range, with obi belts costing ¥2,980 to ¥6,800. They will be sold nationwide at 422 Aeon stores.
Aeon’s designers took the Ise-style of yukata from Mie prefecture and added a sassy modern look in three tonal themes. The result is a range of rather contemporary but decidedly “wa” (Japanese) 100%-cotton kimono.
They also have cooling and drying technology built into the fabric, no doubt with UNIQLO’s successful Cooltech line in mind.
We’re not sure exactly how the fragrance aspect works or how effective it is, but regardless of practicalities, it’s a unique marketing gimmick, that’s for sure.
Cooling, fragrant and colorful. Will it be a success? Aeon, at any rate, hopes to sell 285,000 units.
Sharp-eyed readers might see a resemblance to the female model here and the currently much-in-the-limelight international model Kiko Mizuhara. That’s because she’s Kiko’s sister, Yuka Mizuhara. That’s her in the middle.
Cheap yukata have been offered for years by Japan’s major retailers, including UNIQLO. Traditional wear like yukata are far from being conservative or old-fashioned clothes that only the wealthy or overly sophisticated put on. They are affordable and purchased by a lot of young consumers. Even a J-pop star like Kumi Koda — who is popular with teenaged girls — has collaborated with designing a yukata product.
GU (pronounced “gee-you” — a play on jiyu, meaning “free”) is the off-shoot of UNIQLO that is even cheaper and even more casual.
GU branches have been popping up around major city centers recently and as part of its expansion, it has launched a series of guerilla marketing schemes to pull in the crowds.
These include flash mob events, fashion shows with “living” show window mannequins, and more. It was also one of the sponsors of the Kawaii!! Matsuri 2013, which prominently featured GU’s official model, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
Since GU’s line is meant to be clothes worn by laidback fun-loving youngsters, in Kobe it decided to hold a “fashion dance battle” with teams of kids.
Meanwhile, in Hakata (Fukuoka), it held a flash mob event. Flash mobs have been taking place a lot in Japan recently, both as genuine social “happenings” and also as promo events.
Meanwhile, in Ikebukuro in Tokyo and Shinsaibashi in Osaka, the GU held a live fashion show in its shop window, and broadcast on Ustream. Check out the three super genki foreign models, who are meant to be “living” mannequins.
GU opened its two hundredth store in late December and is set next to move overseas. It also changed its branding logo from “g.u.” to “GU”, which it hopes will help it stand out more when it expands beyond Japan.