Standing Out and Fitting In: Street Fashion and the Search for Identity and Power in Post Bubble Japan

by Tori Szczesniak

Fashion is the means of expressing identity. Dressing is a ritualistic, symbolic, everyday practice that we use to situate ourselves in the chaotic, judgmental world around us.  The simple act of putting on a piece of clothing immediately conveys one’s position of cultural power, class distinction, gender, and subculture, all while participating in the global economy. Deciding what we wear matters, especially in an urban, capitalist society where fashion is a tool to distinguish ourselves from one another. On an international scale, the fashion industry represents an interesting view of understanding national power and identity [3].

Professional Designers Dare to be Different

The early 1980s marked an explosion of Japanese fashion in the global industry. The fashion world reacted strongly to the avant-garde, radically different ideas of the country’s designers. The new garments articulated different ideas of what fashion was and the relationship of clothes and body. Japan gradually became a genuine force of change, challenging tradition and introducing new artistic contradictions [3]. [Read more…]

Tori Szczesniak

Hi! I’m Tori Szczesniak and I’m a junior double-majoring in Film Studies + Environmental Policy. I have my own professional photography business and I love anything that has to do with art + design: interiors, fashion, graphic design, sustainability, diy, etc.

I’m excited about Japanese culture and “gross national cool” because I have interests in Japanese film, fashion, and technology. I grew up on Miyazaki films, and one of my favorite films today is Departures (Okuribito) directed by Yôjirô Takita. I am curious about Japan’s emerging role in our global economy, its impact on our artistic world, and its environmental initiatives.