Hoho, debate?! It is a tough thing think about it though…
The new fashion show coordinator of Otakuthon has sent me a response to this editorial.
Otakuthon is proud to present the Fashion Show! It is a fashion parade that brings together three different categories: Lolita, J-Pop/J-Rock/Visual-Kei and Traditional.
This is the message that is presented when you visit Otakuthon’s — the Montréal anime and manga convention — page about their fashion show. They were also accepting cosplay entries.
I’m Lysandra, the new Fashion Show manager. Last year I was the assistant. I would like to tell you that even though you’ve written this editorial a long time ago, it just recently got my attention. I will not take it in consideration though. Why? Not because I think the show is flawless but because you seem to have missed the point of the fashion show and if I recall, you did not even attend the show itself.
I understand the presentation text might have been a little sloppy, it’s being changed this year because it wasn’t very clear. Plus, you have to know we do not refuse any entry due to the structure nature of the show. It isn’t a competition and even though we try to keep the main focus of the show around Japanese/Japanese inspired fashion and the registered participants must follow certain rules, there will always be a section of the show where the audience is invited to come on the stage to experience the feeling of being under the spotlight.
I understand it may not please certain ”fashion otaku” as you call them but we are aiming toward a more general audience.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to respond to our article. I hope you don’t mind that I will be delivering my response publicly — after all, I consider this something of a public interest rather than a private conversation between you and I.
Firstly, no, I did not attend the show. But you know, there are a lot of things in life that I have not personally experienced but have been able to form an opinion on. I have never gone parachuting because I think it seems pretty scary, for example. That said, I did see photos from the show and got opinions from others. I’ve also been to fashion shows at a multitude of other conventions (the original editorial, while inspired by Otakuthon, was a look at convention attitudes towards Japanese fashion in general). Largely, these things strengthened my viewpoint on the matter.
Perhaps you are right, though. Perhaps I did miss the point of the show. You see, I was under the impression that the point of a fashion show was to present styles of clothes for public perusal. In the case of a convention fashion show, I would hope the point would be to expose the incredibly interesting and diverse world of Japanese fashion to an audience who might otherwise never have the chance to experience these garments firsthand. Is that correct?
If it is not correct, then what is the purpose? I’m all for people feeling good about themselves, but just because something is for a general audience doesn’t mean you need to reduce it to pointless circle-jerking. If anything, the fact that it is for a general audience should re-enforce the need to have a laser focus. A general audience might be experience Japanese fashion for the first time. They deserve to be shown more than just lolita and decora and whathaveyou. There is more to Japanese fashion than bright colours and over-accessorizing. In fact, if you actually look at what was shown at Japan Fashion Week, you’ll find very little of that.
That’s not to delegitimize these styles; ultimately they have their well-earned place in the melange of Japanese street fashion. But this is an audience that has paid to go to a convention and used their presumably precious time to sit down and see what this Japanese fashion thing is all about. In my opinion, they deserve more.
If you would like to discuss what can be done to give a more true-to-life presentation of Japanese fashion, I’d be more than happy to do so.