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Cyber Fashion: A quest for identity

At the end of the 70’s, Kenzo Takada presented his first collection, full of ethnic tributes and colors, totally different from the cold and formal atmosphere of the Parisian streets. The show, held inside a circus tent, marked a turning point in the life of the Japanese designer and also meant the beginning of the international entry of what would have been an army of new designers from the Japanese peninsula .

After the WWII, Japan had come very close to what was the aesthetics of Western fashion. Takada was in fact the first to expand his footprint far from his own country, then followed by Issey Miyake, who held his shows in New York in 1971 and then in Paris in 1973, presenting flat-silhouette garments that made up the historic structure of Japanese clothing which brought a traditional but at the same time innovative elaboration of the concept of bond between body and fabric.

Ten years later Ray Kawakubo and Yoji Yamamoto made their debut leaving their mark in the fashion history forever.

Despite these new modern concepts combined with traditions allowed Japan to officially enter the in the world’s fashion scene, something was still missing in Japan, We can say that, until the 90s, the concept of common and street’s style clothing in Japan had its origins from Western (which the spread was favored by media systems such as magazines or TV programs) or historical roots, but teenage population of the peninsula increasingly felt the need of something new.

Just to be clear, there was no intention in any young Japanese to erase the western style or to renounce the traditions linked to their history, however teenagers were determined to find a way to renew their style in a more natural, spontaneous, and above all, modern way.

The economic and social events that occurred in Japan (such as the bursting of the speculative bubble at the end of the 80s) will guarantee the 90s the title of "lost decade".

Furthermore, the export of technological goods such as Sony and Nintendo products, (today widespread all over the world), became particularly prolific.

This event led to an increase in technological demand, and then, these innovations also took place into fashion and clothing trends, giving birth to the Cyber fashion.

This new trend consists in a constant tendency to adorn yourself with everything that is futuristic, starting with accessories (let's not forget that the 90s were the era of the first mobile phones with a more modern design, computers and robots).

In terms of fabrics, Cyber ​​clothing appropriates synthetic or artificial-like materials, such as vinyl or fur.

The Cybers adorned themselves with metal and plastic accessories, in bright/neon colors that also influence the make-up. All the outfits were then completed with baggy pants, tops and jackets, high and wide shoes or wedge boots and sneakers.

Cyber ​​fashion were also influenced by the disco-culture, as previously mentioned, Cybers uses materials reactive to UV or neon lights in addition to Glow Sticks, which were used as bracelets or simply as an offer of scenic effects to the look.

Despite the preference for light colors, dark ones (such as black and white) were also worn by the cybers.

The philosophy behind this choice of clothing is directly influenced by the conception of what the 90s were like for Western teenagers, Cybers ​​​​in fact felt a sort of "disavowal" towards the past and mainly had tendencies in progressive thoughts, not necessarily optimistic.

They believed that the future was always better than the present, in a fluid and unstable conception of society, seen as an organism in constant evolution, clearly in contrast with the conservatives’ ideas of their parents or oldest relatives.

The integration of technology for the Cyber ​​​​community is also very important in clothing, as every aspect of our lives is destined to grow more and more thanks to it.

In a society where science, technology and biochemistry are the rulers, the cyber community is made by cybernetic and solitary warriors who tried to survive on a planet polluted and plunged into chaos (a common thought in many of subcultures born during at the end of 1900s).

The Cyber ​​​​scene is basically composed of young people between 15 and 30 years old and subsequently had a spread like wildfire with inspired (and sometimes misunderstood) variations all over the world.

So, Cyber ​​fashion, similar to American grunge, aimed young people to difference themself from an archaic and ancient society too much linked to its historical roots.

Thinking about it, wasn't it the essence of the 90s? An army of Young people who want to find their own identities in a world where rules and destinies seemed to be already written?

By Cosimo Baldi

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