This post is a reflection that summarizes all the different things we experienced over the August 25 – 26 weekend. The J-Pop Summit Festival 2012 felt lighter, cheerful than last year’s grounded atmosphere. However, it was clear that last year’s earthquake and tsunami disaster are still fresh in people’s mind. Loving shout-outs and “gambatte ne!” messages to Japan echoed tremendously in a weekend painted with cyberpop overload.
Overall, J-Pop Summit Festival 2012 really delivered. It was a really great decision on the committee to focus the majority of the events on the outdoor Pagoda Plaza. Windy / cold / sunny weather inconsistency aside, it gave a clear core of focus throughout the weekend. The vendors and food trucks were easily accessible on Post St., the street closures were minimal, it was a successful weekend in my eyes.
h. Naoto’s fashion show at J-Pop Summit Festival last year remains one of my most favorite fashion shows of all time. On its sophomore year, h. Naoto brought out two of its many brands, GRAMM and FRILL. It’s clear that love and admiration for all things h. Naoto are high for the fans, so it’s no surprise that anticipation for GRAMM and FRILL fashion show this year is high.
Last Saturday, August 25, GRAMM and FRILL are showcased on an outdoor runway at Pagoda Plaza in front of a diverse crowd: adoring fans / fashionistas, Japan fashion enthusiasts, curious passersby, and don’t-get-it-but-can’t-stop-looking viewers :)
Finally, the wait is over. The first ever United States branch of h. Naoto store opens in San Francisco’s New People building (2nd floor), Japantown! On October 8, h. Naoto fans are treated to personal styling session by Naoto Hirooka himself, as well as a having their picture taken with the designer when they purchase h. Naoto merchandise at the new store.
Seeing Naoto-san on the sales floor, explaining and selling his garments to the prospect buyers and fans alike was such an incredible moment for me. If you look at the picture on the right, you’ll see that h. Naoto is there at the far left side, selling. It’s amazing.
I’ve been a h. Naoto fan since the first time I saw his fashion show back in August, but seeing him very actively involved in his first US branch store opening in San Francisco reminds me why I became a fan in the first place. I could not help but admire this very talented yet humble designer.
“I’m sorry for asking such a complicated question, but one does not get this kind of chance very often…”
This was uttered by one audience member during Q&A session with Kyoto designer Takeshi Wakabayashi (pictured left) of Sou Sou Lecture at New People 3F Frog Gallery, Japan Town, San Francisco at J-Pop Summit Festival on Saturday, August 27.
And from that moment, I completely realized that I was blessed to be at the right place at the right time. And I vowed to myself right there and then, that I will make a reflection piece about my experience in J-Pop Summit Festival 2011 at San Francisco (thank you for being such an awesome company, Cynthia from StyleWylde!) no matter how “late” it might be. Because just like the audience member said, one does not get this kind of chance of being humbly inspired very often.
From what I’ve seen so far, h. Naoto’s fashion show is one of the most exciting fashion shows in the city. Amazing Japanese avant-garde designer with humble attitude, meticulously made and styled outfits….it was truly a thrilling experience watching 12 looks that were presented at New People’s Frog Gallery on Saturday, August 27, 2011.
This fashion show is not like standard walking-down-the-catwalk-and-dissapear-backstage kind of thing, but Naoto Hirooka himself (and his intepreter, who’s going to be the store manager for h. Naoto’s 1st ever US / San Francisco flagship store in New People building on October 2011 – yay!) took the time to explain each looks. His inspirations, the feel he wants the look to evoke with the garment, styling details, and so on.