Japan has always been a great influence in all things artistic and cultural. During the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and then the 19th and early 20th centuries, obtaining a Japanese object or a woodcut was a huge privilege. It was one of the epitomes of exoticism. In art, this became known as Japonisme and Orientalism. Japonisme influenced some of the greatest artists of all time, such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. But Japan's influence did not stop there, it also affected fashion deeply.
Fashion in Japan is famous for its beautiful kimonos and extraordinary patterns (and is also home to カスモカジノ), mostly with cherry blossoms, butterflies, and a few geometric ones. But this is not all. The biggest thing that Japanese fashion has offered to the West would probably be 'Wabi-Sabi'. That is to find the art and the beauty in imperfections. This concept has been beautifully interpreted in the works of Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, and Issey Miyake.
Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo is one of the most influential Japanese fashion designers. His designs were not merely just clothes. They became pillars of fashion, as they embraced deconstruction, gender fluidity, and imperfection. Kawakubo inspired many haute couturiers, such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and Martin Margiela. His impact in western fashion was so big, that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York devoted a big retrospective exhibition to him. The Art of The In-Between explored concepts that Kawakubo addressed in his designs, such as spirituality, feminism, death, etc.
Yohji Yamamoto's avant-garde
Yamamoto normalized oversized silhouettes in his clothes. He did that by using a lot of extra fabric that was draped from the main silhouette. His love for the avant-garde and more eccentric designs has won him several awards. Today he is one of the most influential fashion designers on a global level.
Issey Miyake and Zero-Waste
Zero-Waste is an innovative movement in fashion, led by Issey Miyake. In 1999, Miyake made the A-POC collection (A Piece of Cloth), in which he reduced the garments he used to just one per cloth. In that way, there was not any waste that would end up harming the environment. Miyake set the tone for today's environmentally friendly fashion.
Other Japanese influences in the global fashion
Japanese culture has inspired many fashion designers from the west. To name a few, Zuhair Murad, Marni, Armani, Christian Dior. Specifically, different variations of the kimono, as well as appliques flowers that resemble cherry blossoms are some recognizable elements. But that is not all.
Most have heard of Cosplay. Nobuyuki Takahashi coined the term in 1984. Cosplay has become a popular element of pop culture globally. It goes out of the strictly Japanese universe to global events, such as ComicCon, FanimeCon, and of course Hollywood and all sorts of pop things.