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A Taste of Japan Fashion Week in New York

New York - Japan Fashion Week's Spring 2009 season of collections commences on Sept. 1, but for those New York residents unable to make the journey to Tokyo, Japan Fashion Week (JFW) organized a showcase of some of Japan's most promising emerging designers—Ato, Mikio Sakabe, Somarta, Ylang-Ylang, G.V.G.V., Mercibeaucoup and Ne-Net—at the newly opened Japanese-owned boutique Aloha Rag on Tuesday, Aug. 19, in New York.

The designs on view offered a distinct sampling of the range of styles that will be present at Japan Fashion Week. From the humor and whimsy of Ne-Net (a printed sweatshirt dress had a hood that resembled bunny ears) to the bold, almost cartoonish work of Mercibeaucoup, to the couture finishing of Somarta modern elegance of Ato, JFW hoped that with the impressive selection they would bolster the visibility of Japanese fashion design in the U.S., and perhaps encourage more foreign press and buyers to travel to Tokyo for the collections in the future. Last season, JFW reported a 25 percent increase in the number of foreign media in attendance.

Another case in point of the increased awareness of emerging Japanese talent: Alongside the JFW mannequins and models at Aloha Rag, the store's own rack of pieces by Ylang-Ylang were on sale, an indication of the increasing availability of some of these Japanese designers stateside.