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IT GIRL TOKYO: Caca Co

Third Looks is going international with our latest IT GIRL feature. I’m proud to introduce Caca Co from Tokyo. It is a dream for many women to work in the fashion industry and one that Caca is pursuing to the fullest in Asia. A special thank you goes out to Rajiv Sawhney for producing this feature and making it look fantastic. He will be contributing content from the Japanese fashion scene and documenting his personal journey in the creation of his own namesake label, Sawhney. -Rocky

Words by Rajiv Sawhney

As a budding menswear designer, I had the opportunity to meet Caca, a half-Japanese/half-Chinese fashion student and model through a personal connection several months ago. We quickly became friends given our mutual interests. What struck me most about Caca, aside from her cute looks, was her maturity at a still relatively young age and her deep knowledge and appreciation for the Tokyo scene. Naturally, when I bounced ideas with Rocky about a potential IT GIRL TOKYO edition, Caca immediately came to mind as the first candidate. With the help of fellow friend and photographer, Daisuke Ito, we took to the streets of Daikanyama to bring you the first IT GIRL TOKYO.

Firstly, can you give a quick introduction about yourself?

My name is Caca. I was born in Xian, China and grew up in Tsingtao. My first time visiting Japan was during my sophomore year of high school. I also spent time in Fukuoka and Kyoto for high school and undergraduate college. Currently I’m a graduate student at Bunka Fashion College (http://www.bunka-fc.ac.jp) studying fashion management. To enrich my life and social experience I’m also a part-time model and love to party, enjoying the energy of fashion through Tokyo’s nightlife.

What made you want to come to Japan to study? Did you always want to study fashion?

I wanted to come to Japan for a very simple reason. Since I was a child, I loved Japanese animation and wanted to become an anime artist. However, after studying animation for two years at Kyoto Seika University (http://www.kyoto-seika.ac.jp), I realized that it would be difficult to transmit my points of view and concepts to audiences unless I became an animation director. Meanwhile, like other young girls, I started to take more interest in my make up and styling and gradually became more interested in fashion. Ultimately fashion became my true calling and I quit animation school to study at Bunka. Even though my friends were surprised by my decision, they continue to support what I’m doing. I also want to thank my father for forgiving my willfulness and for continuing to support me.

LOOK 1
Outer: Men’s Number (N)ine black destroyed leather napoleon riders jacket
Top: Loveless (http://www.loveless-shop.jp)
Pants: MNG Collection
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Sunglasses: Gucci
Hat: Loveless (http://www.loveless-shop.jp)

You are now finishing up your final year at Bunka Fashion College. How has the experience been?

Every day I’m exposed to new things and the curriculum is very meticulous and professional. Students can elect to study from a wide variety of majors including design, styling, etc. I chose management as my major. Unlike other majors, we have the opportunity to hold shows, visit shops to do field surveys, and go on the streets to take photographs. The most interesting aspect of my studies has been the analysis of seasonal trends and the emphasis on the brand creation process. My dream is to start my own brand.

You also recently interned at Mark Styler, a major Japanese women’s wear company. Can you describe the experience?

Mark Styler (http://mark-styler.co.jp) is the parent company of my favorite Japanese fashion brand, EMODA (http://www.emoda-japan.com). Through an introduction from my professor, I was honored to receive a month long internship program at the Mark Styler head office to help with their 2012 Autumn/Winter show. Through this internship, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the industry, particularly the unglamorous side of the business. In order to execute a perfect fashion show, every department was extremely busy. I worked in the media department and learned it’s not enough to have a good designer or pattern maker, but also an excellent media department to successfully market a brands image. Frankly speaking, very little differentiates fashionable Japanese brands these days. Therefore, how the media/publicity department markets a brand’s image has become increasingly important. After the fashion show was successfully completed, I realized that all the hard work was worth it. It was a very memorable experience and a great learning opportunity.

LOOK 2
Outer: Men’s Dries Van Noten camel wool double breasted coat
Top: Men’s Sawhney navy lace and velvet button-down dress shirt
Skirt: The Dayz Tokyo (http://www.thedayztokyo.com)
Shoes: BeLLE (http://www.belle-co.jp)

What are your thoughts on Tokyo fashion culture? What are the differences you see compared with China?

In Tokyo, each area has its own characteristic style. For example, in ladies fashion there is Shibuya 109 style (http://www.shibuya109.jp), Harajuku style, Aoyama/Omotesando luxury style, Ebisu/Daikanyama pretty style, etc. In addition, each style has been shaped by the area’s history and culture. China has witnessed rapid growth recently but for the older generation unique characteristics in Chinese fashion culture did not exist. Rather, fashion was described more broadly as Korean fashion, Japanese fashion, European fashion, etc. Compared to China, Tokyo fashion has much more individuality and originality, which I think is amazing. That said, I think the Japanese are losing to the current generation of Chinese in terms of foreign intelligence gathering and global fashion interest.

What about menswear? What do you find attractive or interesting about modern Tokyo menswear?

I think women are constantly unfaithful in their loyalty with brands. But for men, once they fall in love with a brand, they can be a loyal customer for a very long time. As a result while women’s wear emphasizes design and styling, menswear puts more importance on quality material used and quality of construction. In a private or work setting, women look at a man’s sense of taste rather than his trendiness. A man that wears well made clothing or shoes gives a woman a sense of security which is a plus. I also think there is a sense of charm. I feel that Tokyo men put a lot of emphasis on styling and coordination. Tokyo men take advantage of accessories, hats, etc to show their style.

LOOK 3

Outer: Men’s Mihara Yasuhiro rabbit & goat fur down vest
Parka: Design Works
One-Piece: Zara
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Sunglasses: Gucci

You received a job offer to work for Mark Styler after graduation. What are your thoughts about the future?

That’s correct. I received a job offer in Mark Styler’s global operations department, but recently I’ve been considering the business potentials in China and felt that working in Japan would deter me from my dream, so this month I declined the offer. After graduation, I plan to return back to China and I’m thinking of starting my own brand. At any rate, I think it’s necessary for me to understand the local Chinese market and develop the necessary personal connections.

Special thanks to Daisuke Ito of Trival Inc. for taking time out of his busy schedule to help with the shoot and more importantly Caca for modeling the men’s outerwear during this frigid Tokyo winter. Best of luck in your future endeavors!

Styling: Rajiv Sawhney designer of Sawhney (http://www.sawhney.jp)
Model: Caca Co (http://ameblo.jp/cocaca)
Photographer: Daisuke Ito of Trival Inc. (http://www.dai-ito.com)

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