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Friday, Nov. 11, 2005

Fashion show puts carp on catwalk

If the connection between carp streamers, environmental awareness, catwalk strutting and the national pastime of spending ridiculous amounts of cash on extravagant clothing is hazy, be enlightened at the Dengen Fashion Show, taking place at The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures, Tokyo National Museum, Nov. 14.

Dengen is a charity project exploring the "power of creativity and consumption." For this show, 26 fashion designers will revamp old textiles into clothing that will take over the catwalk on the night. The clothing will then be sold to everyday consumers via the Internet and to bidders on mobile-phone shopping sites. All the proceeds will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund Japan, this year's beneficiary nongovernmental organization.

This year's theme is koinobori (carp streamers). Accordingly, in making their clothes the fashion designers were given the task of using streamers donated by the company Tokunaga Koinobori. Traditionally flown to celebrate Children's Day (May 5), koinobori symbolize strength and usually feature dramatic and elaborate designs. Expect the outfits and the Dengen Fashion Show to be similarly arresting.

Whether attendees go to appreciate the notion of environmentalism or simply turn up to see some interesting creations is something that show curator Junko Hara has clearly thought about. "We want to introduce the concept of 'cool and fun charities' like those that you see overseas," says Hara. "The main aim is to promote ethical consuming without preaching philanthropy, so that people can actually help the environment unconsciously, as opposed to doing it as an obligation. Conceptually, this is similar to sites like eBay where people can sell their old items."

Dengen will take place Nov. 14, 6 p.m.-8.30 p.m at Tokyo National Museum, 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito Ward, Tokyo. Seated tickets are 3,500 yen, while standing tickets are 1,000 yen. Tickets can be purchased at the door. For more info, see www.dena.ne.jp/dengen

(Manami Okazaki)

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