Fashion Magazines: Looking Abroad for What to Wear
The 60s and the 70s

The rapid economic growth of early-60s Japan created a large middle class whose youth found a way to express themselves through what they wore. It was a time for youth and young adults to break away from outdated concepts of acceptable dress. In the 1964 Summer Games’ opening, Japanese athletes marched wearing red blazers and white bottoms representing the colors of the Japanese flag. Just four years prior, it would have been inconceivable for Japanese men to wear a red jacket, cf. the special squad formed to clear youth sporting American Ivy League fashions off the streets of Ginza.

It may have been Japan’s opportunity to show the world its industrial might through the construction of infrastructure and architecture, but the Summer Games of 1964, to which thousands of international athletes gathered, showed people in Japan that foreign countries and cultures were not as distant from them as they once thought. While women were already fashion-forward, 1964 was when postwar Japanese men discovered the pleasure of dressing well, through the style introduced as “Ivy” in the advertisements created by VAN Jacket, whose apparel was modeled after East Coast Ivy League looks.

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VAN Jacket’s 1970s ad campaigns for their Japanese-made Ivy-style clothing created a totally new trend in fashion magazines. This is when the formula for both women’s and men’s fashion magazines, aimed at young adults, was first established. Those magazines were edited like textbooks, with pages filled with pictorials and written information on goods and how to wear them. As can be seen in the example of the “an-non zoku,” a tribe of readers of female fashion magazines an・an and non-no, young women were empowered to be more independent and to become a larger consumer group. The men’s fashion scene took a more materialistic approach. Toward the end of the 70s, men’s fashion magazines like Popeye, Hot Dog Press, and Men’s Club picked up on the West Coast college lifestyle of more casual campus attire reflective of their outdoor activities, such as camping, surfing, skateboarding, and Frisbee. Those magazines listed everything from U.S.-made heavy-duty tools to clothing straight out of American mail catalogs. The style was called Heavy Duty Ivy, as opposed to East Coast Ivy style. This trend of textbook magazines and the style, Heavy Duty Ivy, encouraged stores like Beams and Ships to enter the market, selling American goods straight out of those magazines. They are also among the forerunners of uniquely Japanese retail stores known as “select shops,” where merchandise is carefully curated and displayed in accordance with the store’s specific aesthetic and theme.

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