Big in Japan: Museum at FIT Explores Contemporary Japanese Fashion

Looks from the Tokyo Fashion Festa, presented at the Fashion Institute of Technology in advance of the “Japan Fashion Now” exhibition, on view through April 2, 2011 at the Museum at FIT (Photos: UnBeige)

Whether you can distinguish a Shibuya denizen from an Akihabara type at 40 paces or still can’t quite get your head around those wide-eyed manga cuties, you’ll be fascinated by the proceedings of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Japan Fashion Now Symposium. The two-day confab, which takes place tomorrow and Friday at FIT, will delve into the astonishingly diverse sartorial world featured in the museum’s current exhibition exploring the evolution of contemporary Japanese fashion from Rei Kawakubo and the avant-garde gang to gothic-punk-Lolita styles and Cosplay. “Japan continues to be on the cutting-edge—maybe even the bleeding edge—of fashion,” says Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT and curator of the exhibition. “Some of the most interesting designers—including menswear designers—combine avant-garde and sub-cultural styles. Equally significant is the Japanese obsession (not too strong a word) with perfecting classic utilitarian garments, such as jeans and work wear.” Symposium attendees will settle in a series of presentations and conversations that focus on everything from the Tokyo shopping scene (in a talk by Tiffany Godoy) and Japanese men’s fashion magazines (Masafumi Monden) to the “perverse cuteness in JapaneseGirl culture” (Laura Miller) and artist Yoshitomo Nara (Miwako Tezuka). Pre-registration for the symposium is now closed, but our friends at FIT assure us that you can sign up on-site.