Hello, fashion lovers. When you think of Japanese fashion, what image comes to mind? It might be sophisticated street style, highly designed high-end items, or the beauty of the traditional kimono. But if you are interested in classic American tailoring, you should know that the Japanese fashion scene has a very interesting side.
Referring to the book “Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style,” details how Japan has embraced, imitated, improved, and ultimately perfected American fashion over the past 150 years. AMETORA describes how Japan has interpreted the American style and turned it into a business. Japanese brands such as Uniqlo, Kamakura Shirts, and Capital have developed new cloth industries based on classic American tailoring.
This article will also discuss how Japanese fashion has been influenced by classic American fashion, how Japanese fashion has subsequently influenced classic American style, and how this has made Japanese fashion more acceptable to Americans.
What is AMETORA?
AMETORA is a book by Wen David that details how Japan has interpreted and even evolved the style of American fashion. The book explores the Japanese fashion scene in terms of American classic tailoring. It then takes an in-depth look at how Japan has embraced and uniquely developed American fashion.
Introduction of American Clothing Culture to Japan
One might think that it is only natural to imagine that American clothing was imported to Japan because the reconstruction of Japanese society after World War II was led by the United States. In reality, however, the culture of American classics has penetrated Japan through the hands of Japanese, rather than American, fashion enthusiasts.
After the war, Kensuke Ishizu, who had worked as an overseas clothing salesman, became a menswear designer and developed a wardrobe for the affluent class under the brand VAN.
In 1959, Ishizu traveled to the U.S. and covered the Ivy League style, which was the mainstream fashion of the time. Using this Ivy League style wardrobe (Brooks Brothers was one of the American brands used as a reference), Ishizu pioneered the fashion market for young Japanese. Ivy League fashion was also introduced in an article in the men’s fashion magazine Men’s Club and gained recognition among the children of wealthy families. The key message of the magazine is that there are fashion rules, and the fastest way to acquire that common sense is to start with the Ivy League style.
Spreading American Fashion Culture
In the 1970s, Japan took a cue from American mail-order catalogs, proposing American lifestyle and culture through logs. Typical American fashions such as Levis, Pendleton, North Face, and Hunting World were deployed in the Japanese market. This catalog magazine format is still the basis for Japanese fashion magazines today.
Later, California trends such as T-shirts, skateboards, surfing, and sneakers were also introduced through Popeye magazine, and the “Made in USA” craze began to be accepted in Japan as a significant cultural trend rather than a passing phenomenon.
In 1976, a clothing store called BEAMS started introducing a selection of American brands. Wealthy teenagers were also able to purchase genuine foreign products.
Thanks to the introduction of fashion magazines and select stores like BEAMS, by the 1980s, teenagers could keep up with and even anticipate foreign teen fashions.
The Global Rise of Japanese Fashion
1981: Japanese fashion designers COMME des GARCONS and Y’s make a splash at the Paris fashion shows. Using only black as a monochromatic color, they developed asymmetrical and intentionally flawed clothes that became a worldwide sensation.
In 1986, a new fashion magazine, Men’s Non-No, was also launched, and the brand’s clothes were more in line with the fashion of its home country and Paris than with the classic styles of other countries.
Mode fashion was now proposed to Japanese youth rather than classic foreign style.
Hiroshi Fujiwara and NIGO, two people with ties to the overseas rap scene, curated and developed music, fashion, books, and culture. A Basing Ape and others were the catalysts for the rise of Japanese streetwear as the world’s most sophisticated market.
The Position of Current Japanese Fashion in the U.S.
1985 Launch of the fashion brand Unique Clothing Warehouse-UNIQLO. The brand offers life wear with a backbone of American classics, not only in Japan but also overseas. Today, UNIQLO has opened a store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and is gaining popularity.
2008 An American fashion blog scanned and uploaded a Japanese Ivy fashion book: Take Ivy to his website. There was even a trend reversal, with American youth learning classic American culture from Japanese references.
I think it is a very interesting fact that as American classics gained attention in the U.S. over time, the fashion system was studied with reference to Japan.
- As mentioned above, Japan has faithfully learned American traditional culture, preserved it, and evolved it into its own unique form.
- If you have developed an interest in Japanese fashion brands, it may be because you feel an affinity with American fashion in Japan.