READ - Fresh Fruits Postcards

by Karen Zarker

7 December 2006


Fresh Fruits Postcards [Phaidon Press - $14.95]

J-pop devotees, tween fashionistas, photographers, and novice cultural anthropologists will enjoy these funny “Fresh Fruit” 5 x 7 postcards of high quality print good enough for framing, if one is so inclined.  These cards are an offshoot of Fruits, a zine aimed at Tokyo suburban street fashion.  The images by award-winning photographer Shoichi Aoki capture kids ranging from the adorably cute (17-year-old, pierce lipped Hitomi, sitting knock-kneed on steps for her picture) to just darned silly (19-year-old Maitun dressed up Little Orphan Annie style, complete with an eye-piercingly vibrant wig).  Indeed, the “models” range from 12 to 19-years-old, and their delightful, sometimes bizaare sense of style is clearly captured with a joy as bright as their colorful clothing.  The reverse side provides the model’s first name and information about her / his favorite designer (just in case you’re wondering where you might get your hands on those fat, bright, cartoony-looking sneakers Suguru is wearing), as well as information about inspirations and crazes that spark these outfits. Aoki’s work provides a refreshing look at youth sans that nasty, soft porn gaze ala American Apparel, and its refreshing.  Word has it this funny fashion from Japan is spreading.  Maybe it’ll knock out the indie slacker look that’s dominated our youth for far too long.  Whether that’s an improvement or not on what you see on the streets is for you to decide. [Amazon]

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