The main difference between Western fashion movements and Japanese fashion movements, as author Tiffany Godoy tells us, is that whereas the West is caught up in political statements or a quest for identity, Japanese style is simply fashion for fashions sake, playing with materials and colors the way an artists plays with paints and canvas. Individual designers create their scenes, complete with music, magazines, models and hot places to be seen, rather than an organic outgrowth of a social movement.
“Style Deficit Disorder” is a serious history lesson and study of Harajuku fashion, from the Post-war transformation of the district and the influence of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and the major changes in style brought by each successive decade. All of the major players are introduced, such as Okawa Hitomi and her shop Milk and the fashion band The Plastics whose look inspired Madonna’s early designs. Magazines, such as Cutie, FRUiTS and TUNE are covered in detail, showing how their fashion editors were able to exert their power and change the decorated face of Japanese fashion.
Of course, as a fashion history “Style Deficit Disorder” is an explosion of colorful images, authentic street photographs and composed professional scenes. There are more than enough visuals here to satisfy anyone’s lust for the sometimes-bizarre world of Japanese design, and a designer looking for influence and ideas would find this a valuable tool. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a coffee table flip book. The accompanying text is heavy enough to be used in a college course, and any serious student of fashion should have this book in their library.