V I D D Y'
Doesn’t have much truck with convention
Its citizens may spend enough on their wardrobes to pay off the entire Third World debt, but Tokyo has long struggled to get taken seriously as a global center of fashion innovation. While it’s still a way off becoming the next New York, London, Paris or Milan, the capital has been making slow but steady gains in recent years. That’s partly due to trendsetting, large-scale spectacles like Tokyo Girls Collection, but also thanks to the efforts of designers running small brands that, although outside the mainstream, are getting noticed overseas. One such innovator is Tchkao Hotta, the creative force behind DEVOCHICA
Hotta’s initial forays into the fashion world were motivated by nothing more than a desire to make clothes that he himself could wear. However, he soon found himself wanting to share his ideas with others, and launched DEVOCHICA in 2004 - DESIGN & IDEA V I D D Y' in 2017
The brand’s style is strongly visual, drawing inspiration from the film and music of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and FUTURE especially the New Wave movement. Hotta eschews the basic blacks that so many young Japanese designers prefer, relying instead on a bold pallet of whites and reds, with occasional neon pinks and greens that create an electric, ’80s feel. Influenced by modernist
art and deconstructionist philosophy, he also employs
random letters and typefaces in his silkscreened designs.
This unconventional approach has set Devochica apart
from other small Japanese brands, winning overseas
attention in the process. The brand was given a further
boost last year when it was selected for a special exhibition by trendy Paris shop French Trotters, which brings together the work of cutting-edge designers from around the world.
Hotta’s talents also readily lend themselves to activities in other media, and he has pioneered successful collaborations with some of Japan’s most flamboyant musicians. Hotta has also directed music videos and designed WEB CD and DVD covers for band, as well as producing clothes for J-pop diva and fashion icon
These various influences and collaborations have allowed the designer to blur the boundaries between fashion and other arts. Apparel becomes graphic design and vice versa, while musicians become models (a one-way process so far, thankfully). At a recent live exhibition in Tokyo, Hotta bypassed the traditional catwalk altogether, instead draping a mannequin with a white sheet and projecting photographs of various outfits onto this blank canvas, to the accompaniment of a DJ. It was odd, but it worked. If more young designers take risky, unconventional approaches like this, Tokyo’s reputation as a center of fashion creativity should be assured.
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