Fashion Week

Tokyo’s Rakuten Fashion Week Kicks Off

Fall/Winter 2021 collections from (L-R) Keisuke Yoshida, Tactac and Nisai. Japan Fashion Week Organisation.

While events began yesterday, today marks the first day of physical shows and presentations for the Fall/Winter 2021 season.

The schedule is busier than last season’s, where 35 brands participated and 13 of them did so through physical showcases. This time around, there are 51 designers on the schedule, of which 20 are opting for in-person events. But organisers and brands remain cautious and due to Japan’s nationwide state of emergency, all shows must finish by 8pm. Like last October, the maximum capacity of physical events is a quarter of the pre-pandemic norm.

“People coming to the shows are excited,” said Japan Fashion Week Organisation (JFWO) Director Kaoru Imajo. “[But] people like us and the designers and PRs are being cautious.”

The line-up features events for both industry insiders and the general public: the Undercover runway show on March 19 is offering tickets to fans by lottery and brands like Hyke will showcase their wares via livestream. Undercover and Beautiful People will join e-commerce giant and title sponsor Rakuten’s By R program, which it launched to support Japanese fashion designers during the pandemic. The move is a homecoming for both brands, which usually show in Paris: Beautiful People and Undercover haven’t shown in Tokyo for 4 years and 19 years respectively.

A few slots in the schedule are centered around the upcoming “Fashion in Japan 1945-2020” exhibition at Tokyo’s National Art Center, including a collaboration between Writtenafterwards designer Yoshikazu Yamagata and Fumito Ganryu, directed by Seiya Nakamura. Meanwhile, one of the most-anticipated livestream shows will be late streetwear legend Takeshi Osumi’s last collection for Mistergentleman, which Osumi designed in the hospital before he passed away in January.