Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Irrelevant Observation

Winter Trend 1/13/09

Not too long ago, I spent a week in Tokyo during the first week of the calendar year. Unbeknownst to me then, that very week is when the Japanese do two things: going to temple and shopping. The temple bit was interesting because they were not following a Lunar or other any religious calendar. The shopping bit was actually downright scary because nothing was technically open except for retail stores and the entire population of Japan took their shopping time seriously. Imagine the entire population of your city crowding into all the retail stores at the same time, and you start to get the idea. Now multiply that by ten, from the folks visiting who want to shop too. That’s Tokyo during that week.

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, now that we have established that I probably viewed a larger portion of the Japanese population in that week than normal, I can go ahead and make the generalizations based on that limited exposure.

I never noticed fashion trends on that scale before and in Tokyo, it quickly became obvious that Japanese women in winter like their boots. Short, tall, flat, high heels, leather or otherwise. Japanese women love their boots in winter. And to fully show off their boots, they take to wearing short skirts or winter shorts. Mind you, the skirts and shorts are usually wool, and designed for warmth, but still not what comes to mind when one thinks of winter wear. Every other woman in Tokyo was wearing boots. Old, young, chic, plain, fashionistas, mountain witches, grandmothers or granddaughters.

In NYC, this winter has revealed another similar ubiquitous trend. Uggs. Yes, Ugg winter boots. Classic tan, new black, or edgy fabric ones. Worn with jeans or tights tucked into them. Sported by White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, locals, tourists or otherwise. The stylish, the plain, the ugly, tall, thin, short, fat, the young, the youthful, the old, and old-yet-young-at-heart. Uggs are everywhere, and they cannot be stopped. One brand. One shoe. Many variations and admirers.

Next time you are on the subway or just roaming the streets of NYC. Take a look around you and keep count of how many Uggs you see on the feet of women. As am I writing this now in Starbucks, there is at least one woman wearing them.

Walk the stores, and you’ll see them everywhere as well. Heck, Wal-Mart and Target are even selling Ugg knock-offs, and I guarantee you there are thousands of those that have been sold as well. This is not an urban phenomenon. It really is everywhere.

Guess we’re not immune from these kind of sweeping trends either.

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