MBTF Ticks

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>> I don't normally do a specific post pointing out the quirks of such and such a fashion week even though, having been to erm…. fifteen different fashion weeks worldwide, I could easily have compiled some sort of index card dossier on each of them.  Tokyo Fashion Week though, despite the image that it's incredibly domestic-focused and supposedly closed off from the outside world, has its definite perks that fashion weeks all over could certainly take a cue card from.  It may be that now Mercedes Benz has taken it under its evergrowing portfolio of international fashion week, there'll be changes which, I can only think will be for the better as I'm enjoying the luxury of a car that can get me to as many appointments as possible.  However, JFW as an internal operation (it used to be called Japan Fashion Week but after renaming, the name has become the organisation's moniker – kind of like the BFC or the CFDA) has certainly instilled a few things in their six year history that should hopefully remain…

– SHOWS START ON TIME.  Well, more or less.  My universal half-an-hour-late rule has been scuppered.  Doors open half an hour before and most people are seated ten minutes before the show starts.  My helpful hosts have been ushering me to seats twenty minutes beforehand giving me time to actually breathe as opposed to rushing in ten minutes after start time with sweat patches and clumsily tripping over people's feet.  

– At the Tokyo Fashion Week desk, I notice there are stacks of tickets for shows that still have standing space left for people to take if they so wish.  Standing isn't a raw deal at most MBTF shows as there are only one or two rows at the shows and this is a brilliant way for first time goers/newbies to come along and grab themselves a ticket. 

– Business cards rule all.  I haven't quite perfected my business card exchange etiquette yet but I'm definitely fast running out of my heaving stack (I have SERIOUSLY thick cards…), a day and a half into this trip.  People here actually pay attention to them and don't just chuck them away after politely accepting them.  I've already received prompt replies to lookbook and press release requests after scattering my cards about for one day.  

– This isn't so much a fashion week quirk as it is a general etiquette thing.  I've been doing a few media interviews and people provide FOOOOOOOOD.  A box of cookies, some sweeties and water goes down a treat when they're about to ask the all-important, ever-unanswerable "Where do you see fashion blogging going?" question (I'm sometimes after tempted to childishly answer with "It's going NORTH-WEST!") 

– Many of the shows are not simply straight-forward down-the-runway formats.  There have been performance elements or certain lighting features or an interesting set at a lot of the shows that do elongate the shows but you're happy to sit there for longer.  You can see why Comme des Garcons shows used to be an hour long…

– I now finally understand why the Japanese shows in Paris tend not to allow backstage access before the show (I still heart you Comme and Junya…).  In general, backstage access is pretty strict.  Appparently my hosts said that the Japanese designers tend not to like to show the in-process stages of a collection and prefer to show the final perfect product and so afterwards, the designer will come out for interviews and we, journos surround him/her in a semi-circle to ask questions in a democratic press conference type thing.  I'm so used to falling in line and letting Sarah Mower or Tim Blanks do their thing (there's an unspoken hierarchy in backstage interviewing…) that this was a novelty asking questions along with everyone else…

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(Spot the odd one out: I bunged in a "Oh look, the sky is so pretty/scary looking….!" shot that I took at Harajuku yesterday…)