Posts Tagged ‘cool biz’

Japan by the numbers (06.11.13)

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Women sound off on Super Cool Biz fashions

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Where are the lines drawn with super cool biz fashions?

This summer, encouraged by the government’s Super Cool Biz campaign, Japanese men are daring to bare a bit more flesh. As neckties and heavy blazers are discarded, almost anything goes, and many braver businessmen are now sporting calf-length trousers, polo shirts and “aloha shirts.” For the first time female colleagues are seeing their male coworkers in a whole new light, but according to a poll by Nikkei Woman Online, there’s a fine line to be drawn between kakui (cool) and kakkowarui (unattractive).

The poll, published in Nikkei Trendy, reveals that too much flesh in the office can be a bad thing. Revealing tank tops were the most objectionable office-fashion item, with 90 percent of 409 respondents rating this “NG” (thumbs down). Shorts came in a close second, at around 80 percent NG. While most women did not object to plain short sleeve shirts, if the material is sheer, around 60 percent of respondents preferred men to wear a vest underneath to cover up exposed nipples and chest hair.

Continue reading about super cool biz fashions →

Fashion goes sensible in postquake Japan

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Tokyo’s luxurious department stores are seeing a new trend toward sober women’s fashion this summer as a direct consequence of the earthquake on March 11. Comfortable trousers, sensible shoes and muted colors are the order of the day, according to J-Cast, who polled the city’s department stores on sales figures since the quake.

If the shoe fits the occasion ...

If the shoe fits the occasion ...

It’s estimated that about 3 million people had to trudge home on the day of the quake when the city’s transport network came to a virtual standstill. Among them, we remember seeing a huge number of OL (office ladies) painfully making their way home in heels. That memory has stayed with women, many of whom are opting to buy ballet flats and low heels (not sports shoes but shoes that can be worn to the office or out on a date). In Matsuya Department Store in Chuo Ward and Ginza, for example, after mid-March sales of ballet flats shot up 50 percent.  A large department store in Shinjuku also reported a 50 percent increase in sales of walking shoes.

Sales of summer trousers for the misses demographic (women in their 30s to 40s) at Mitsukoshi Department Store in Nihonbashi are up 6 percent. “Many customers say that ‘If something happens, I want to be wearing clothes in which I’m free to move in.’ We’re seeing that trend continue,” a sales manager at Mitsukoshi told J-Cast. In Ginza’s well-established department stores, some stores are reporting a 10 percent rise in sales of women’s trousers.

Color schemes are also dampened. This year’s hot colors were expected to be red and orange in line with global trends, but a sales manager at a Ginza department store reports that white, beige and light blue are being favored over bold colors as are natural fabrics like cotton and linen.

Along with casual Super Cool Biz trends, we can expect to see a much more sober style adopted by women this summer as they tackle the psychological effects and practical concerns of a postquake world.

Clothing retailers want you to stay cool, stay fresh

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Summertime, and the business suits are cool

Summertime, and the business suits are cool

UNIQLO Dry

UNIQLO Dry

Summer in Japan is hot and humid. Newspapers wilt. Mold flourishes. Even non-electrically heated toilet seats feel pre-warmed. Subways set the air conditioning to arctic or just blast the fans to stir the muggy air around.

The Japanese government’s Cool Biz initiative launched in the summer of 2005 by then-Prime Minister Koizumi encourages workers to cope by taking off their ties and ditching their jackets. To cope, that is, with a carbon-emission reducing and sweat-increasing thermostat setting of 28 degrees Celsius. (Farenheit friends, let me save you a second. That’s an indoor temperature of 82 degrees.)

The jury may be out on how significant the emissions cut is and whether the initiative has helped or hurt the economy. But in the prospect of the workforce stewing in steamy offices all day, retailers have seen a great opportunity to push clothing lines with coolness built in. Ito Yokado also saw a ready-made tagline; its budget-conscious Power Cool and Mira-kool clothes are all categorized as “Cool Biz goods.” The company is just one of many retailers taking advantage of new fabric technology – anti-bacterial! anti-odor! – from manufacturers such as Toray and Asahi Kasei. They even say that washing won’t dilute the funk-busting properties.

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From Comme Ca Ism, one example of woven-in deodorant

Just in time for summer, Wacoal has put out a line of bras and other underthings made of a breathable fabric meant to reduce sweat. The bras are called “suusuu,” a word that hints at the idea of an absorbent fabric and invokes the feeling of a breeze. They have strategically placed strips of open mesh for ventilation. The Web site has a rollover “sweat body map” accompanied by infographics reflecting how people surveyed feel about sweat: the number one concern is shirt stains, followed by smell.

Uniqlo is following up the success of its slick winter Heattech layers with TECH Silky Dry innerwear for men and women. The women’s line of ultra-thin “air-conditioned” unmentionables is called Sarafine. Some of the camisoles come with removable underarm pads. For men, there are tops and bottoms made of slippery, stretchy Silky Dry. Both the men’s and women’s lines claim anti-odor, anti-bacterial properties.

In addition, Uniqlo has rolled out a UV-blocking line of knits. The UV Cut line is a collaboration with Anessa, a sunscreen from cosmetics maker Shiseido.

Can these fabrics really stand up to the heat and humidity that makes showering feel all but futile? It hasn’t been quite hot enough yet this year to fully test these. On those days when walking to the train in the morning feels like a full-on workout, any promise of coolness will probably find some sweaty takers.

Have you found any high-tech fabrics that actually help you keep cool? Any traditional tactics that work better?

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