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Our Japanese brothers and sisters have had to endure a devastating earthquake and tsunami that destroyed lives and infrastructure. To honor them and their creativity, we turn our gaze to two of our favorite fashion capitols: Harajuku and Omotosando, Tokyo.

You probably know Harajuku, thanks to Gwen Stefani and Nicki Minaj but Harajuku was poppin way before these artists. As matter of fact, 30 years ago, Japan completely changed the way the West saw fashion. Japan influenced the West in art and fashion, reversing the flow of cultural consumption, combining the avant-garde with the conventional, mixing the geometry of the everyday with new textiles and fabrics, marrying fashion with art.

The Japanese attention to detail in tailoring and materials is what’s most often lauded. This is the case with two shows launched in New York and London: FIT’s “Japanese Fashion Now” and The Barbican’s “Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion” which ran from December 1, 2010 to February 6, 2011.

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(Harajuku girls with gas masks as fashion accessory.)

In the UK, at the Barbican Center, “Future Beauty” explores the work of visionary designers like Miyake and Kawakubo in relation to Japanese art, culture and costume history.

The exhibition sections are titled “In Praise of Shadows,” “Flatness,” “Tradition and Innovation” and “Cool Japan.” Street wear has a prominent role in the exhibition with sample styles collected from Tokyo’s influential Harajuku neighborhood, the center of the fashion world. After closing in London, “Future Beauty” moved to Munich, Germany where it premiered last week and will run until June 18. 

FIT’s “Japanese Fashion Now” has been extended through April 2nd because interest and traffic to its 7th Avenue galleries have been significant. The show opened in September 2010.

The school has assembled rare streetwear and avant garde designs from the likes of Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, Undercover, Mastermind, Yoji Yamamoto and dozens of designers who were and are influenced by Harajuku, the neighborhood in Tokyo where, every Sunday, young Japanese fashionistas gather to show off their costumes culled from literature and anime, and Omotesando, the hood where Comme des Garcons and Issey Miyake get inspiration.

 

Take a look at Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani, more images from the shows as well some awesome Harajuku street-wear. 

[pagebreak]Nicki Minaj as Harajuku Barbie. Her look borrowed from the costume play paraded in the Harajuku neighborhood.

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Gwen Stefani with her Harajuku Girls, back-up dancers who paid homage to the Harajuku neighborhood in Tokyo.

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Nicki Minaj as Harajuku Barbie. Her look borrowed from the costume play paraded in the Harajuku neighborhood

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Stefani and her Harajuku Girls, Love, Angel, Music & Baby.

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Will.I.Am and Nicki Minaj as Harajuku cos players. Their looks borrowed from the costume play paraded in the Harajuku neighborhood.

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From “Future Beauty” now in Munich.

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From “Future Beauty” now in Munich.

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From “Future Beauty” now in Munich.

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From “Future Beauty” now in Munich.

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From “Future Beauty” now in Munich.

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From “Future Beauty” now in Munich.

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From “Fashion Now” in New York’s FIT. Looks inspired by the Omotosando neighborhood.

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From “Fashion Now” in New York’s FIT. Schoolgirl inspired looks from the Harajuku neighborhood.

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From “Fashion Now” in New York’s FIT. Design by Comme des Garcons inspired by Omotesando.

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Harajuku Girls chillin on a Sunday in Tokyo.

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From “Fashion Now” in New York’s FIT.

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From “Fashion Now” in New York’s FIT. Scary/Cute looks inspired by the Harajuku neighborhood.

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The Gothic look inspired by Harajuku.

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Japanese designer Mastermind. Look inspired by Omotesando

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