Welcome to Issue 4 of Volume 4: Safe Spaces
It’s time to retreat to our cozy, little nooks. The past couple of years have been draining for all of us. From being told to stay inside because of a deadly Pandemic and almost going stir crazy, to suddenly being told to go to work even though the aforementioned deadly Pandemic was still raging around the world.
The Japanese street fashion community values social interactions—like a lot! From conventions to meet-ups, Facebook to forums, our favourite thing is to talk to others about our passion for fashion. The community, both on and offline, is a safe space where we can be true to ourselves and have fun with friends. But in these difficult times, the community is not so accessible and talking online can sometimes feel like a chore. Now more than ever we need to rediscover what it means to have a safe space.
Part One, In My Bedroom, we take a tour around the ultimate domestic sanctuary.
This is the place where most of us in the fashion community hid away, spending hours pouring over alternative fashion magazines while surrounded by our favourite frilly dresses. In our in-depth tour of the bedroom, we talk about how many of us spent our youth creating an identity centred around alternative style. The bedroom acts as an extension of our personal style and self expression. Just ask Rococo Princess Océane, pastel lover Laura, and Fairy kei maven Mimita! Three fashionistas with wildly different styles that seem to have exploded onto their walls. But of course, the best place in the best room of the house is the bed. In our shoot, Under the Covers, we become one with the bed and hope no one asks us to leave—ever!
Part Two takes us On the Net and brings us to the community.
Not everyone in your neighbourhood wants to dress up in Japanese street fashion. So where else can you go but online. Forums and Instagram are the perfect places to find like-minded and equally fashionable people. The fashion community has always congregated online, starting with LiveJournal and then moving onto Facebook—no one is ever out of reach no matter where you live.
But while we might appreciate the accessibility of online platforms, the digitisation of fashion is making the street less of a place to be. Even the seminal street snap magazine, FRUiTS has gone online! But what impact has this had on the perception of Japanese street fashion? Online life and real life is starting to blur—a bit like in Satoshi Kon’s Paprika—and it’s getting harder to know what’s real and not. We delve deep into these mixed realities with our online-inspired shoots!
Part Three, Social Calendar, is all about the events!
Starting in 2020 and through to 2021, we have seen the advent of the Zoom meeting, the Zoom party, the Zoom event etc. We get it, it’s tiresome (and majorly awkward) to try to interact socially when you’re staring at a screen. So, in this part, we consider the implications of post-Pandemic, in-person events. For event producer Rubab, tour guide Hamuka, and event coordinator Monique, in-person events are their bread-and-butter, but they’ve had to adapt to the “new normal” to keep their events afloat. While others like Bay Area Kei were born out of the need for community in this isolating time. Our shoots envision a future filled with Zoom meet-ups, and socially distanced, in-person meets. Neither of the options are our first choice—but hey, it’s better than nothing!
So what’s your safe space? The bedroom, the net or a socially-distanced gathering? Let us know in the comments below!