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Combating Copying on the Eastern Front

In a report on Japan Fashion Week, Suzy Menkes recognizes that competitive runway creations may originate as much from the lab as from the atelier:

Japan's inventive technology informs many aspects of its fashion.  A fabric display at the runway venue showed ultra-light synthetic fabrics, prints looking as though they were handcrafted and denim in myriad textures and weaves.

While the contribution of science to fashion is nothing new -- from spindles to sewing machines, buttons to velcro, clothing has long been the product of technology -- invention has taken on a new urgency. 

[Naoko] Munakata [director of the fashion policy office at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry] believes that with China taking over the fabric industry and copying clothes with cheap manufacture, there has to be a new initiative from Japan.

"And that is where technology can help," she says.  "We need to expose Japanese fabrics to designers to create high end brands."

When it comes to Sino-Japanese conflict, at least fashion is a good theatre.