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Leg Wear In The Spotlight

Diverse Designs from Innovative Creators


Unique designs catch the eye. ©Ayamé

Women are seeking a total look that encompasses accessories, hats, handbags, leg wear, and other items. The lineup of leg wear has grown markedly, with toe covers for pumps, which are perfect for Japan's humid summers, and lace instep and ankle bands joining the leggings, color tights, and knee highs that were a hit last year. Leg wear that peeps out from sandals and pumps has a subtle appeal, and the desire to dress up from head to toe is growing among young women.


A cute combination. ©Ayamé

New Concepts from Young Designers
Innovative leg wear by young designers is on the rise. A number of new brands have appeared on the market and are gaining a foothold by offering original color and pattern combinations made with high quality, domestically produced materials.

Aya Agaoka's Ayamé brand is one example. Agaoka formerly worked at a major hosiery and lingerie manufacturer but set up her own company to offer original and fun socks to women. Her designs debuted in the fall and winter of 2007. The following year, in her 2008 fall and winter collection, she unveiled items inspired by Eastern Europe, with simple patterns arranged in a pop art style. The sense of color and texture in her creations, which include stockings with raised patterns on thin woven materials, have won the hearts of fashion-conscious women. Agaoka's designs are carried not only by a number of major Japanese specialty shops but also by boutiques in San Francisco. They have also won praise in overseas exhibitions in London and Milan.


Socks for Going Out. ©cocomonomamani

Another brand featuring leg wear and accessories, called Cocomonomamani, was launched by the designer Marii Kishigami in 2007. Woven socks that give the appearance of being worn under shoes, socks with special messages or patterns that can only be seen when the shoes are removed, and other fun, amusing designs are part of the lineup. The socks have names like Maze for Beginners, Stars in the Night Sky, and Socks for Going Out and are designed to enhance the image of the people wearing them. The socks are priced at ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 a pair ($19 to $28 at ¥105 to the dollar), more than other foot wear. But they also have extra appeal in their dual role as socks and accessories.


Flowery socks for men. ©tabio

Not Just for Women
Leg wear initially caught on among women in their teens and twenties and later spread to career women in their thirties. Men's socks have undergone a transformation, too. Tabio, a sock company, recently opened a number of new shops in Tokyo and offers an array of 110 styles, including bubble and flower patterns. The socks provide a colorful accent under the hem of jeans and a subtle touch when paired with formal business wear. Tabio's creations are popular among fashion-conscious men who want something more than just a stylish suit. (August 2008)