Collection: Unit 4

Design: Culture Swap




The way people present themselves and are perceived by others is of utmost importance to the Japanese, whether it be your mannerisms, what you do, how you speak or what you wear. This varies widely in different contexts and with different people, whether it be at home, at school, at work or with friends. This means that it can be quite difficult to discover who the person genuinely is, underneath the facades worn in social occasions.

What is distinct is the wide range of uniforms for different occupations. Taxi drivers, bus drivers, public transport staff, sushi chefs, tour guides, construction workers and secretaries are instantly recognisable through what they wear. The uniform is a way to indicate each persons' responsibility and contribution to what is a very united and homogenous society.

On the other hand, Japan has an international reputation for its' eccentric street fashion, one of the many expressions of creativity of the country's youth culture. 

I found this contrast interesting and wanted to communicate this in an experimental format through designing several layers of wrapping in what would ultimately be a sort of "pass the parcel" concept: the wrapping would represent the process of truly discovering a person, shedding one layer of appearance after another.


I decided to have each layer of wrapping consisting of origami with a word that I had asked people who were not from Japan to choose to describe how they perceived the Japanese. The illustrations are examples of both types of Japanese uniform and streetwear.


Underneath the layers of wrapping is a box containing cards with words the Japanese use to describe themselves, indicating the difference between the way we are perceived (the adjectives on the wrapping) and the way we perceive ourselves to be.



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