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Boom in Clothes That Are Not Symmetrical (January 12, 2005)

asymmetrical design
An asymmetrical skirt
Asymmetrical design, or clothes in which one side is not the same as the other, is currently one of the more conspicuous trends in Japanese fashion. Although asymmetry has been around for a while in the realm of novelty fashion, this year it is showing up in skirts, blouses, and cardigans - and even in everyday items like eyeglasses and automobiles.

Projecting a Different Kind of Chic
The most conspicuous example of asymmetrical fashion is skirts with hemlines so slanted that the length on the left side differs by 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) from the length on the right side. As the wearer walks, the fabric swings with an irregular motion that projects a certain elegance not found in skirts of more conventional design. For women who want to accentuate their femininity, slanted-hem skirts are ideal. Besides slanted-hem skirts, there are also asymmetrical skirts that have more subtle design irregularities: for example, pleated skirts in which the shape of the pleats differs from the left side to the right.

Other asymmetrical garments currently finding favor include blouses in which the length differs from left to right and cardigans that are long-sleeved on one side and sleeveless on the other.

In the realm of fashion accessories, meanwhile, asymmetrical eyeglass frames are the latest thing. Fashion-conscious eyeglass wearers are going wild for designs in which the frame around one lens is of a different height or shape than the frame around the other. Another popular accessory is asymmetrical pairs of earrings. And some fashion-forward women are adding a touch of novelty to their standard clothing by wearing stockings of a different pattern on each leg. Asymmetrical hairstyles, in which the hair on one side is longer or different-colored than the other, are also becoming a more common sight.

Is Asymmetry an Extravagance?
Back in the days when everything from clothing to crafts was made by hand, it was a matter of course for things to be asymmetrical. But as industrialization progressed, symmetrical design became the norm worldwide. As Fumikazu Masuda, a professor at Tokyo Zokei University, explains, "Symmetrical design made it possible to simplify the manufacturing process and cut costs." From that perspective, asymmetry might be viewed as an extravagant fashion trend in which the pursuit of self-expression trumps cost concerns.

Then again, the human body itself is not symmetrical; its functions are characterized by left-handedness and right-handedness. So one could say that asymmetrical designs are natural. A growing number of style-conscious women are enjoying this fashion trend by tucking up their hemlines to create their own asymmetrical designs.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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