Asian fashion: modern, yet traditional
Asia is a vast continent. Indeed, it is the largest in the world, and the one with the highest population. As you might expect, then, Asian fashion comprises a fascinatingly wide range of styles, trends, and traditions. Here we provide you with some hits and tricks for navigating the fascinating world of fashion in Asia.
The bright colours of India are at the heart of fashion in Asia
With its rich traditions of vibrantly dyed cottons, sweeping sarees, exquisitely intricate prints, and glittering items of jewellery, the fashion of India has an amazing resource on which to build. Modern Indian fashion designers display a breathtaking ability to change and innovate whilst also remaining true to their roots. Designers such as Sabyasachi have specialised in capturing the essence of Indian tradition with sumptuous patterns and delicately textured fabrics whilst also giving garments a modern flavour with
(for instance) pencil style skirts and peter pan collars. One of the great beauties of Indian fashion is the way in which it can be simultaneously old and new in precisely this way.
Japan: cartoons and couture blend in one of the most exciting countries to be fashionable
The Japanese street, and indeed the Japanese fashion show, tends to display an eclectic mix of styles and trends: traditional silk kimonos jostle alongside anime-inspired T-shirts and Parisian-inspired haute couture. Japanese fashion is fresh and funky, and designers are never afraid to experiment and to appropriate styles from other cultures or periods of history and fit them to the Japanese mould. From the use of Gothic Victoriana in some of what are known as the ‘Lolita’ styles, to the use of the workman’s overalls in the ‘bōsōzoku’ trend, Japanese fashionistas have a habit of taking the bizarre and unexpected, giving it a modern and very Japanese twist, and making it fashionable.
Get sweet and preppy in South Korea
Though far from being the only fashion trend in the region, a preppy style of dressing has become increasingly popular in South Korea. Chequered shoes and skirts, polo shirts light knitted sweaters, beige chinos, large glasses, and velvet hair ribbons are all staples of this simple style. Since the arrival of Ralph Lauren and its classic polo shirts in South Korea in the 1970s, many brands such as Jack and Jill and Basic House have been feeding fashion-conscious Koreans’ desire for that preppy look. The few wardrobe staples mentioned above enable young men and women in South Korea to create a look that is at once nostalgic for the high school culture of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s and suggestive of a sweet, smart (even geeky), and slightly alternative personality.
Tell us your thoughts
What are your thoughts on Asian fashion? The examples of fashion in Asia given in this article by no means constitute an exhaustive list of Asian fashions. Indeed, it would be nearly impossible to give a comprehensive summary of the topic as Asian styles are so rich, varied, and versatile. Are there any other Asian trends you know of and would like to share?