The Bunka Festival
Each year Bunka (which includes Bunka Fashion College, Bunka Gakuen University, Bunka Graduate University and Bunka Institute of Language) has their cultural festival—but this is a school festival like no other. They put on a three-day showcase of their students’ best work and the colleges’ departmental facilities. In the college buildings on each floor, you can find student exhibitions divided by year and department, workshops and tours of the departments given by college professors, and of course, the main event: the fashion show!
The fashion show is organised by the Bunka Fashion College students, where design students create a collection with the help of both their classmates in adjacent departments as well as their own individual company sponsors who provide the materials needed to create the fabulous clothing. This three-day extravaganza is open to the public, so you can go and witness it for yourself!
As we headed to Shinjuku, where Bunka Fashion College is located, the number of fashionable youths increased dramatically the closer we got to the school. The students at Bunka, although young, have a very mature and curated sense of style. You’d never guess these Fendi-clad, vintage wearers were just over the age of 20.
We were given front row VIP seats to the fashion show, courtesy of Yuu, (featured in our Neo Trad issue) who was in charge of one of the collections that would be presented in the show. The setting was like a real fashion show, with a raised runway and professional lighting. The theme of this year’s show was “@?”, the meaning of which was explained on their Instagram and translated by us here: “The ‘at’ sign, @, is a preposition that expresses location. This age of social media offers us another place where we can be ourselves. We chose this theme hoping that it would encourage our attendees to be conscious of ‘reality’ and ‘human nature’.”
Check out our pictures from the fashion show below! The full video of the runway can be seen here.
After the amazing show we were given a tour by Yuu, who gave us an insider perspective on how each collection came together. It was fascinating to hear how much work and organization went into each and we were astounded by the technical abilities of the students—most of whom were in their early 20s and only in their second year of studies.
Afterwards, we headed out to explore the campus and see the various pop-up shops and displays put on by the students and professors. There was so much, we couldn’t possibly get through it all! In every classroom there was a display to view or a workshop to take part in. We stumbled across the clothing technology department and one of the professors gave us a tour. It was fascinating and also eye-opening how much research and scientific study goes into the making of clothes. Fabric is tested in chambers to see how it will fare in certain temperatures and how it will affect the body when worn. From sportswear to Uniqlo’s Heattech collection, it’s important to remember how much work has gone into the construction of a garment for something as basic—but crucial—as keeping yourself warm.
Other highlights of the festival included viewing current students’ work. Bunka students have the opportunity to focus on specific aspects of clothing such as footwear, knitwear, accessories, etc. The standard of work on display was very high—not only were they technically sound but their designs were very creative, too! Unfortunately there was a no photo policy so we could not take any pictures, so you’ll just have to trust us on this!
We were only at the festival for a few hours, but if you’re ever in Tokyo around the time of the festival, make sure to go and have a look! The college is bursting with young creatives who are sure to give you a heavy dose of inspiration.