Monday, March 3, 2014

Oh, the Fashion Jargon...

A little while ago I started following a Japanese textile trend/forecast blog; it targets the fashion industry, doesn't have nice pics, and most of it is gibberish to the untrained so I don't pay much attention, but once in a while I find a gem.

The Feb 28 post was one such; the writer selected three key words, in English, from the various industry shows she visited, to signify this year's trends: air, touch, and volume, to which she attaches conceptual meanings/translations, and then subcategorizes these three and attach conceptual/textile meanings to these.

In the first instance, I cringe at the collective Japanese cringe/inferiority complex towards anything Western, when it only exposes the writer's/speaker's incompetence in their mother tongue, but at the same time this follows a good understanding of the way we use our language, an emotional/nuanced/subjective one rather than that of precise definitions. Across most age groups, Japanese have always embraced/enjoyed language changes and there is comparatively little sociolinguistic generation gap in perhaps the last decade and a bit.

Sometimes we use real words for new or Japanese concepts, and the general population does not the original meaning. I got penalized in Fifth Grade in a Japanese language test for defining "personality" as, well, personality, individual characteristics, etc; in Japanese in the 60's/70's, it specifically meant "(mostly all night) radio show hosts", but I was a good girl and didn't listen to them. Likewise, "arbeit" means parttime/student/low-paid jobs, not generic work. Sometimes we use what we call Janglish, 和製英語: e.g. salaryman, (white collar working of a major company on salary, traditionally for long hours) though Janglish includes words in origins other than English as well.


Enough of this and back to the post. Bearing in mind she is not translating but labeling concepts, (and you can imagine the fashion industry being one of the worst to invent/attach new meanings,) and I'm translating with no knowledge of Japanese fashion/textile industry, here are a few clues to textile trends for 2014 in Japan. I'm relying on half a dozen online sources, so all mistakes are mine:

Under main category "Air":

* energetically きっちゅ トルコ風プリント 二重織り ニットデニム二重織り 繻子織りの大きなチェック kitch, (of German origin, expressed in Hiragana alphabet, not the standard Katakana, which probably includes a "cute" feeling; Google search yields a lot of kitten pics, and it is used as a Japanised adverb by young girls suggesting if it could be a new version of "cutesy"); prints suggesting Turkish motifs; double weave; large checks in Satin weave

* charming simplicity 和風柄 ジャカード 刺子 ウラケ Japanese motifs, Jacquard, Sashiko, soft-backed (as in loopy terry texture of brushed) textile

* evidently vegetal 葉柄 leaf motifs.

Main category "Touch" becomes "In touch" 自然と人工のハイブリッド 新しい触感 風船ガムのようなふくらみ 肌のようなタッチ Hybrid of natural and manmade; new touch/hand; bumps that feel like bubble gum; hand like human skin. (Also see bottom.)

* following the body ダンボール ハリ Corrugated cardboard; tension/stiffness (my guess, as she uses Katakana alphabet for a Japanese word which traditionally would be in Hiragana & Kanji)

Main category "Volume" becomes "Gently provocative" 穏やかに刺激していく デリケートなスケッチからラフなドラフトまで。未加工 未仕上げ ウォッシュ プリーツなど Gently provocative; from delicate sketches to rough drafts; untreated; unfinished; washed, (as in jeans, I presume); pleats

* derailed 楊柳 リップル コードレーン 先染め Yo-ryuh cloths, (Chinese, finely crinkled fabric due to different shrinkage, traditionally in vertical stripes, originally woven in linen - that's my best summary from several sources); ripple; cordlane; yarn-dyed

* spicy sweetness 中国風ブロケード 花弁付き レース風 ジャカード 透しプリント Chinese Brocade; attached petals; lace-like; Jacquard; translucent/transparent prints

And she has some photos from participating manufacturers' publicity stock.

* * * * *

We don't have a Japanese word for "texture". We have words for touch-on-mouth (food/drink texture), hand/touch, lumpiness, bumpiness, roughness, but not an all-encompassing word that Mom and I could think of, nor one for visual textures.

3 comments:

  1. Fascinating, Meg. I've been thinking about derailed cloth quite a bit. Who knew I could be so trendy, renegade that I am? It is interesting to see how trends are differentiated in other cultures. In the U.S., it's all about color (2014 is the year of Wild Orchid), and in Japan, texture seems to figure more prominently. On the red carpet, nude is OUT (poor Cate Blanchett) and [stunning] Lupita Nyong'o's pale blue is IN. Perhaps we should come up with some "pirate" categories for our woven cloth.

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  2. Oh, color is a totally separate entity - we follow that, too, but we are finely attuned to other aspects of textiles, before it gets to design styles/cuts. We are more varied in texture and fibers, because of our heritage: Chinese/Japanese/traditional, Indian/Asian, mainstream Western, new technology, new-to-Japan fibers, and "ethnic" which can be from anywhere else in the world. And then we rearrange in ways we can produce in large-ish quantities and can afford.

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  3. I think this is the same all over the world, but it feels at the mass consumption level, there are more varieties of textile available at relatively affordable prices.

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