I will post fits with it just to make you upset.
You know I actually had it up for sale for some time before I decided it was too awesome to sell?
Hmm I guess I'm just shopping from fewer online stores now. I think I've mostly noticed it with LN-CC*
*Related random thought- LN-CC's stock is getting shitter
I am finding that a lot of my favorite shops, web or otherwise, are French. They just seem to buy with a lot more imagination and a lot less in your face intensity than shops from a lot of other countries. Scandinavian shops like Nitty Gritty seem to do a good job as well, but they don't incorporate real streetwear quite as well. The French stores (and I like Antic Boutik more than most, and I do like Frenchtrotters as well) seem to be able to maintain a distinct identity while not committing so intensely to a specific genre (see Unionmade (heritage all day e'ery day), Fransboone (we are #mwnswear) and the late Atelier (goth ninja 24/7, 365.))
Sometime in the fall I spent like an hour and a half browsing through fuck yeah street fruits tune (which is just scans of images from a trio of Japanese street style blogs) with my roommate and dissecting things, and I really wish it was recorded now because there were some serious knowledge bombs dropped. I wish I could remember it all.
She just went through and explained all of the different fashion tribes throughout the years and stuff like that, and just the natures of personal style over there, regionally and in particular neighborhoods.
But she was able to bring up a bunch of stuff I would have never noticed without having it explained, like which kids had come from the countryside and were playing dress-up in the city, which kid's were DIY-ing particular things and failing at it, little things the obsession with vivian westwood (especially footwear).
Sadly I don't remember the details of a lot of what we talked about. My favorite part though and what I remember the best was the explanation of the proto-undercoverism crew (like the guy below, but I'll try to find more examples since they were so far deep in the site) and she said all of those guys were the type that had historically always been beaten up and picked on, so they created this uniform that was a blend of like hardcore with crusty and had weird medical overtones (that translated into what their female counterparts wore as well) to look a bit frightening but also still very fragile. I remembered this conversation after reading Breezy's post about how we present ourselves, and thought it was funny how a bunch of dweebs created what is almost universally "cool" or "badass" (or whatever other aggrandizing words we may use) in internet fashion circles and even the greater fashion circle in general. Takahashi is a big deal all around and so it's interesting what his inspiration came from.
Here is another, and I'll see what else I can find. You'll see the SARS mask is a reoccurring thing, even if other people in the photo aren't wearing one.
Gonna dig up an incredibly old post, but just read a pretty interesting article on the history/use of masks in Japan and thought it might be worthwhile to share.
It's a blog written by a grad student at a university in Kansai specializing in ethnology. It's a bit too much work to translate, so I'm just going to paraphrase the relevant bits:
Setting aside the obvious practical use of masks in Japan as a tool to prevent the spread of disease, "surgical masks" (technically they're just regular face masks that you can buy at any convenience store - they even have "menthol flavored" masks and ones with children's anime characters) have been worn for all kinds of reasons, like women who don't feel like wearing makeup, don't want to be recognized on the street, etc.
But even before the modern era, "masks" have played a role in Japanese culture. One example is the Obon Festival in August, a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. The masks are worn during the bon odori, a dance to welcome and console the spirits of the dead.
The role of the masks during this festival is to bring the normal, the mundane person and elevate him into a "nonhuman existence" (hito naranu sonzai) - one that is able to dance together with the dead.
Jumping to the 60s and 70s surgical masks were were often used along with helmets in the gakusei undou, or student protests in Japan (this was in the wake of the US-Japan Security Treaty, the Vietnam War, turmoil over Japan's postwar recovery, etc). The interesting part here is that the mask is now used as a weapon - it empowers these students to protest against the teachers and the establishment. By hiding their faces, they counterintuitively gain the ability to rebel and speak out. Again the writer uses the term hito naranu sonzai, these kids are surpassing and separating themselves from their everyday identities/ordinariness (nichijousei).
Then in the 70s we have the rise of the bousouzoku, who, to oversimplify a bit, were basically biker gangs in Japan and typically emulated the greaser look + also often wore surgical masks (presumably to conceal their identities).
The next section goes on to list why people say they choose to wear masks.
- "It's somehow calming"
- "When my teacher gets angry at me, if I wear a mask I can face him"
- "I don't like my face"
- "I feel more relaxed when I wear a mask knowing I'm not looked at"
This desire to be invisible to people, to cut themselves off from society, on one hand has an isolating effect, but the associations with the gakusei undou, bousouzoku, etc. is also paradoxically empowering and has the opposite effect of allowing these people to express themselves freely.
Essentially, when these modern kids are wearing surgical masks, it's channeling all this history and background, and I think that background does help explain why there was this attraction to surgical masks - the "frightening but fragile" look that these bullied kids adopted.
Another bit of unrelated trivia, there's also a myth in Japan of the slit-mouthed woman (kuchisake-onna), who was mutilated by her husband and returns as a malicious spirit wearing a face mask. The legend reappeared again in the 1970s and spread throughout Japan.