Entries in Tokyo Girl's Collection (1)


Tokyo Girl's Collection Is the Anti-Fashion Show

ABC News(TOKYO) -- More than 30,000 fashionistas flocked to Japan's largest fashion event, the Tokyo Girl's Collection -- or TGC this weekend -- a bi-annual show that combines the country's top fashion brands with popular music acts.

Now in its sixth year, the six-hour show has established itself as the epicenter of Japan's "kawaii," or cute culture, a culture that has gained a global following in recent years.

On Saturday, the Saitama Super Arena, just outside of Tokyo, looked more like a cross between a concert and circus than a fashion show. Popular models strutted their looks down the runway, as adoring fans screamed their names, while other show-goers crowded booths featuring everything from makeup to a foot massage. In between, the TGC stage featured a mini ballet performance, and an appearance by Cirque de Soleil.

"Our goal is to create festival like atmosphere, that celebrates fashion," said show producer Maki Okuda.

Unlike New York and Paris fashion shows, where big name brands unveil high-priced looks on the runway months before they reach retailers, outfits featured at the TGC can be purchased immediately, for an affordable price.

The idea for TGC was born out of mobile phone site, which featured fashion trends and horoscopes. Okuda says the site organized a fashion show to mark its fifth anniversary six years ago, to feature what she calls "real clothes" or casual, everyday wear. Success of the initial show led to a larger event the following year. Today, the show is held twice a year in Tokyo, with separate shows in Nagoya and Okinawa. It has also taken its event abroad, to Paris and Beijing.

The show's tech-savvy marketing has helped elevate its success. Looks on the runway are sold online, so audience members can purchase the clothes from their smartphones instantly. Booths that exhibit at the event come equipped with a cell phone "reading" machine. Consumers must tap their cell phones on the machine in order to get freebies. In return, companies get immediate access to consumer information including email addresses.

While the event mainly draws on domestic brands, foreign companies are starting to take note. Swedish retail giant H & M, as well as American Apparel set up booths at the show for the first time this year. American designer Jill Stuart has become an annual participant, not only showing her collection but setting up a makeup booth, allowing girls to test out the products, and walk away with free samples.

Event organizers dedicated this year's show to victims of Japan's triple disasters, with the theme "Smile for _,," a fill-in-the-blank effort to not only lift the spirits of a reeling country, but revive a retail sector that has struggled, like the rest of the country, in the aftermath of the disaster.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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