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Japanese Beer & Fashion

Last weekend, I attended my very first beer festival -- Beau's Oktoberfest out in Vankleek Hill (between Ottawa and Montreal). It was a really fun time and I'm already looking forward to next year! With beer on the brain plus a few cans of Sapporo in the fridge, I started brewing up ideas for this month's product shoot.

background is authentic happi coat that I brought back from my trip to Japan!

"the Avengers shot" - A.K.

the samurai shot

A bit of background on the photo shoot: my first attempt at shooting was during a power outage and so in editing the first batch photos, I had the weird feeling something was off. I quickly realized that I was missing the condensation/frostiness on the can and glass that conveys the message that the beer is cold. Frustrated, because we gave away basically everything in the fridge so it wouldn't go bad during the power outage (which included the rest of the beer) I ranted to my friend Charlotte. Coincidentally, she had a couple extra cans of Sapporo sitting in her fridge as well (she didn't lose power) but when I got home, I groaned out loud when I realized the cans were different! However, it actually turned out to be the best thing ever because the Avenger shot is easily my favourite and the Japanese on her cans were hella cool.

Side note: I do still wish there was more condensation on the glass and cans. In hindsight, I really needed a spray bottle but I brought mine back to Toronto and didn't have time to pick up a new one :( something to keep in mind for next time!

Continuing the Japan theme, I reflected back on my trip in last December when I got to see some of the fashion firsthand on the streets of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. I wanted to recreate some inspired outfits, kind of like my personal take on modern Japanese fusion. FYI: I'll be commenting on more broad, mainstream Japanese fashion that I observed on the streets, not traditional wear like kimonos or any specific subcultures (harajuku, ganguro, etc.).

Outfit 1 (left): Cecil McBee ruffle blouse, vintage pleated skirt, Louise et Cie flats, vintage Anne Kelvin two-toned watch
Outfit 2 (right): LOFT cream blouse, NOBLEGOUT skirt, vintage Bata brogues, vintage earrings + watch

For this post, both outfits are comprised of: one Japanese brand item, one current item from my local shopping malls, one vintage item from my local thrift store, and finished off with some vintage jewelry.

Outfit 1: The Ruffle Blouse

This ruffle blouse is all sorts of cute with the small polka dots and self-tie bow at the neck. I also like that the sleeves are shorter so it's a little less prim than true vintage blouses.

I picked this blouse for one of my outfits because I feel like it's a good representative of how there's a distinct Victorian, lady-like vibe (the saturated form being lolita, gothic or not). Frills, ruffles, lace, and bows were all common elements I observed. For this blouse, I paired a vintage pleated skirt and simple black flats.

Outfit 2: The Prep-school Skirt

With the cooler weather lately, it's the perfect time to start breaking out this wool skirt! I appreciate how there are many colours but it doesn't scream TASTE THE RAINBOW or anything too obnoxious.

The other facet of Japanese fashion I noticed was the influence of the school uniform. It was really cute to see lots of different school uniforms on the students walking on the streets which made it really easy to notice the similarities in some of the styles. Even in winter, the girls seemed to prefer wearing longer skirts and stockings instead of pants, and the styles were very simple and basic. The shapes also tended to be looser and flowy, and they like to layer on top instead of under (e.g. long top over long skirt, long scarf worn outside of the coat) whereas I tend to prefer tucking everything in (cinch the waist!) For this skirt, I paired my cream LOFT blouse that shares a similar but even more subtle grid-like pattern, and my vintage brogues.

From this post, you can see that another reason I love thrift shopping is finding things from other cultures (not just traditional festive clothing like saris or qipaos) but pieces people brought from their trips back to Canada. I think it's pretty cool that this item traveled across the world only for me to find it in a thrift store -- almost like it's meant to be!

I also wanted to take the time to show the details of some pieces from my vintage jewelry collection featured in the looks in this post.

tiny watches and giant earrings

I prefer tiny vintage watches because I have small wrists and hands and big watches tend to be too heavy or clunky. I've collected a few over the years from different places, to pair with different outfits. From left to right: this jeweled Jules Jurgensen I got earlier this year from my local thrift store, to be worn for dressier events; the Bulova in the middle is a mechanical watch (no batteries needed! just wind it periodically) and I picked it up a few years ago at one of the first vintage clothing shows/flea markets I attended; the two-toned Anne Klein was actually a gift from my middle school teacher, and I like how it helps me effortlessly mix-and-match gold and silver accessories.

Giant earrings have been an ongoing obsession but I've been hard finding the right ones ie. the right shape and size (not too big), and aren't clip-ons (those are so painful!), and at an affordable price (I don't need real gold or brand names). I did manage to find these three, which are all fairly recent acquisitions from the thrift store/flea market. Also, I found DIY instructions on converting clip-on earrings so am planning on trying that with a cheaper pair. If it goes well, then it should be easier to find more to add to my collection!

Hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!
Also, you can check out photo highlights from my Japan trip, now up on my website here!