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Dispatch from Tokyo: "Japan Survives on its Dedication to Solidarity"

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Racked correspondent Misha Janette has an update on the situation in Japan.

Japan, still trying to cope with a radioactive meltdown scare and the loss of at least 20,000 lives from the March 11th earthquake, has just come off a three-day weekend with normality still out of reach. Tokyo is regaining some lifeblood, as workers return from short sabbaticals in the southern prefectures, but the fashion industry is still trying to regain its composure.

Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo, scheduled to be held from March 18th to this Friday, was canceled on the 15th and designers expressed their apologies for being unsure of when or how to even reschedule exhibitions. It may have been just as well, as many foreign models who were in Japan for fashion week and spring magazine shoots were immediately pulled out by their mother agencies.

While local designers are left to figure out how to best present their collections, big western luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Cartier, have caught flack for shuttling their foreign CEOs back to their home countries and shuttering their boutiques in Tokyo soon after the earthquake struck.

Today, a few brands like Chanel re-opened their prized boutiques on the impressive Omotesando promenade, but others, like Gucci, remained dark. It is an issue of damage control that these brands will find themselves grappling with when the luxury-hungry Japanese consumers begin shopping again.

Throughout the calamity it has been widely reported that Japan survives on its dedication to solidarity, and it can be seen in the local fashion community as members move to schedule charity events or design charity clothing. The “Pray For Japan” plea has been re-coined as “Play For Japan” as the fashion industry looks to be as just as solidly ambitious in the face of aftershocks, both literal and figuratively.
· Red Cross [Official Site]
· All Tokyo coverage [Racked]