Rakuten Fashion Week in Tokyo came and went, and it got us thinking about quite a few things.
Digital shows became the norm momentarily at the height of the pandemic, and understandably so. However, it seems that most fashion weeks have gravitated back to the previously known comfort of in-person shows. We get it, the hype, the drama, the first row, the spirit of fashion invading the city for that particular week. But, is this really the best way to present clothes?
Sure, there are in-person shows that are mind-blowing, they’ll take your breath away and make your heart stop. Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh show? Insane, tremendous, bewitching. Still, for things like fashion weeks where a lot of brands are showcasing their collections one after the other on the same catwalk, not everyone can afford such a huge display for a production. It sometimes feels that, particularly for upcoming brands that might not have that much press coverage, online shows can do a better job at presenting certain concepts. A video is a powerful tool and it can be used to better communicate and portray the designer’s artistry.
On the other hand, walking the same runway as some industry giants is incredibly helpful for the advancement and evolution of smaller brands.
Then there’s also the case of the protagonism of the garments themselves. You could say that fashion films allow labels to highlight aspects and details of the garments that might not come across as obviously on a runway. Still, you could also say that all the pezaz of filming a video might take the focus away from the actual clothes, and have the garments play secondary characters to other elements of the story.
After Rakuten Fashion Week in Tokyo earlier this month, we can’t help but notice a certain trend…
Is it a coincidence that the two brands that stood out the most were presented in an online format? Brands NAPE and HYKE both presented their collections online, via a fashion film. And we have to say… We are beyond impressed. Their collections are divine, and a true reflection of avant-gardism in the industry, of brands that are ahead of their time. They aren’t following in the steps of anyone, they are creating their own path.
Let’s take a look at their powerful concepts.
NAPE AW22: Take a bite of the forbidden fruit and sets yourself free
NAPE’s A/W 2022 Fashion Film for RFWT exudes romanticized futurism. We get the impression that the Japanese brand wants to inaugurate a new era of Fashion, with a new vision. An era where things are different so that we can all be the same.
The video begins with two models, one whispers something to the other. Cue to a woman, lips painted red, taking a bite out of a pomegranate. For some reason we get Adam and Eve vibes, only it’s Eve and Eva, and when a bite of the sacred fruit is taken, we aren’t cast away from paradise, we are very much transported to it. There’s a lot of movement, interlaced with stillness. Stop motion-like dances and effortless flow, there’s reflection and joy. A deep appreciation of the self, of individuality, and then as the models/dancers begin to notice each other, there’s admiration, esteem, and recognition of the beauty of the collective too.
There are those who see the action of Eve taking a bite of the apple from the forbidden tree as the first sign of free will, of choice. And while we can’t be sure if this is what was going on in the designer’s mind while ideating this collection and the concept for its RFWT presentation, the correlation is right there for the taking. After all, NAPE is a unisex brand, creating designs with androgyny in mind, because only you get to decide who you are. Only you get to choose.
So go for it, take a bite of the forbidden fruit, and make your choice. Truly, freely, authentically. Create your own reality, and shape your own future. This is truly the message we get from this season’s NAPE collection.
Whether this was intentional or not on NAPE’s part, for us it’s simply fantastic. Not to mention a clear sign that this brand has a long successful life ahead.
HYKE A/W 2022: The time has come for clothes to be timeless
HYKE’s video concept might have actually worked on a runway setting too, but we have to admit that it would have lost some of its power without the video format.
An overhead shot shows a white circular platform over a white floor, a model in a black outfit stands still, delineating the first quarter of the circle. The platform moves clockwise, taking the model along for the ride. Time begins. The model reaches 21:00, the angle of the camera is now eye-level, and the counterclockwise walk takes off. Off-camera another model takes their place at 15:00, and we witness the same sequence all over again.
Reading into it is just too tempting… Can clothes defy time? It’s simply a clean concept, from start to finish. Simple, but solid and impactful. Brilliant really.
You would think it would get repetitive and perhaps a little boring. On the contrary, it’s strangely hypnotising. We assure you, you simply cannot take your eyes off of that rotating platform. It actually makes you more impatient for what’s coming next.
The brand’s concept is Heritage and Evolution, and we can see why. Despite tracing its inception back to almost twenty-five years ago, HYKE is as relevant and ground-breaking as they come. This doesn’t come as that much of a surprise when we take into account that they already launched as a “green” brand back in 1998. Reinventing itself in 2013 under the name HYKE, this forward-thinking brand has presented a collection that is indeed timeless and also gives off strong genderless vibes.
It’s the future made present, and we’re here for it.
All in all, we can definitely say that for us, these were the most impactful displays of artistry during Rakuten Fashion Week in Tokyo, and the format probably has a lot to do with it. So does it make sense for so many brands to keep doing in-person shows when their collections could hit so much harder if they were presenting in a format that could better encapsulate and present their concept?