Tokyo as Fashion Space
Usage Practices, Social Space and Media Discourse
In my PhD project, I want to look into the construction of lifestyle in Japan from a cultural studies perspective. My main focus will be the consumption of fashion and brands. I want to look at the low and mid segments, while still taking earlier research concentrated on the luxury and avant-garde fashion into account. In spite of the global prevalence of fast fashion giants such as H&M or Inditex, Japan still retains a strong domestic market with brands designing and producing exclusively with Japanese consumers in mind. One possible explanation for this may be the way how lifestyle is constructed, casting a strong spotlight on Tokyo as a fashion city.
Namba (2000) observes that constant exchanges between visitors and shop owners further the development of so-called mental maps which in turn enable fashion media to publish actual maps suited to their readership. Categorized to fit their readership, these maps further the construction of the area as fashionable and successively attract new visitors and shops. The social spaces (De Certeau 1988) constructed this way play a big role in the development of a lifestyle model which also furthers changes in the built space.
I want to inquire into this development by further archive work with fashion magazines as well as personal interviews and observations.