This article claims that the Japanese fashion world is now targeting Japanese middle-aged corporate male workers. The writer starts his piece with the sexy “no-tie” look — failing to mention that the huge consumer story of the moment is the cool-biz (no tie, no jacket) movement trying to get employees to shun suits in the summer to save on air conditioning expenses. In the 1980s, older men started to buy Armani suits to keep up with rising tastes, but from what I’ve heard, as consumer budgets went down and the moms tightened the family’s purse-strings in the last five years, the first thing to go was men’s fashion.
So this article is confused: are companies starting to target oyaji now or is it that oyaji are suddenly interested in fashion? There is weak evidence for the latter, but does the former really constitute news if it hasn’t succeeded yet? The success and standarization of Uniqlo and the discount suit stores are the real story, but they’re not sensational enough to write home about. So much Western journalism about Japan gets worked up about “social changes” that are mere blips when viewed with proper historical perspective.