Japanese fashion illustration makes for one dreamy catwalk

Fashion and art have gone hand in hand for a while now. Perusing Instagram, you'll see a lot of 3D-generated models in Nike and Supreme clobber, blurring the boundaries between free promotion and personal expression.

Where a lot of this art usually has an in-your-face 'punk aesthetic', a new kind of fashion illustration from Japan is showing a more natural approach to the style, as celebrated in a delightful new book from PIE International.

Fashion illustration: Outfit of the Day collects a plethora of gorgeous illustrations from 40 up-and-coming Japanese artists, a lot of which makes it into print for the first time ever. Check out some of the artists involved in our exclusive review of the title.

Released this August (link here), the book nicely validates a scene very much borne from social media rather than commissions, where illustrators post a 'look of the day' inspired by what they see around them in Japanese homes of fashion like Tokyo and Osaka. Indeed, the book works both ways, being illustrations of fashion you can admire, and also a style guide for what to wear in real life. The only thing you won't see though are actual models, with imaginary kawaii figures donning all the trendy outfits.

There's a lot of talented digital illustrators to look out for here. Dr. Moricky (@mmoriqomm) is one example, who in Fashion illustration describes their art as like a Jack-in-the-Box, making for something unexpected and playful.

All their figures have small cute faces with Moricky's trademark 'painted on eyes' like you'd find on a doll's face. Their clothes meanwhile vary from oversized 'boyfriend' looks to more 'Ulzzang' styles.

TSCR aka Tissue Cream (@puppeteer7777) meanwhile dabbles in a more modern anime style. Streetwear is the name of the game, but branded with the artist's own imaginary Puppeteer and TSCR labels.

The book's cover artist najuco (@co2nakk) works in a similar way, as you can see in the left-hand image.

A few of the artists like Akira Komayama, Osaka's Tomowaka (first below) and ma2 (second below) capture a 1990s anime feel (think the well-defined linework of something like Akira.)

Each artist is served with a generous spread in the book, their works reproduced on various textures of paper, with glossier sorts for the more photo model-like shots and a grainier kind for impressionist pieces. Such attention to detail shows an understanding of each artist's style and the varied visuals which grab eyes on social media today; it's never a 'one filter fits all' for the Pinterest generation.

While each of the artist's bios are written in Japanese, their brief natures mean you're not missing out too much if you can't read the language. This is a book all about the art, and serves as a nice portfolio of sorts with links to each artist's social profiles printed clearly and repeated across pages, so you always know whose work you're looking at and where you can find more.

PIE International is a branch of a Japanese publisher that's been printing guides to new talent like this for a long while now, so it's great to find books of this sort distributed easily to the west. We'll be covering more of their titles soon on Digital Arts, aware as the publisher is that a lot of the most exciting illustration out there right now is coming from the Far East.

Fashion illustration: Outfit of the Day is released this August 1st 2020; purchase here.

Related: Illustrators around the world are in love with a 1980s Japan

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