Fashion Amy Katoh

In Japan, masks ( and prayer!) have been the preferred mode of protection from sickness, allergies, colds and close quarters, airplanes and such for YEARS! Nothing out of sync about seeing a white square surgical mask on the mouth and nose of an elegantly dressed lady, or an otherwise smartly outfitted business man. Masks have been preventing colds being caught or spread for years, centuries even, and have become increasingly essential in guarding against the dreaded CORONA 19. Today it is rare to see a maskless person walking anywhere. Even runners sport them.

I have often wondered why some stylist didn’t pick up the mask and run with it, changing materials used to something more interest, colorful and certainly blue and white. Masks are here to stay so why not make a statement with them!

A satisfied customer and his wife special ordered their masks

The United States, on the other hand, has always criticized this innocent square of cloth and turned it into a political hot potato, saying that it denies individual freedoms. Leaders have refused to protect themselves with this simple life saver – one of the few that is available to us. It is reviled, refused and rejected.

But BLUE & WHITE shows just what they are missing. If you have to wear them, and it’s clear we do, Masks can be a new area of fashion to explore! and experiment with, make a Style Statement with.

Improvise! Take a tenugui and fold it with hair elastics to loop over the ears. This one is GENKI filled with energy, healthy
Masks can bring color and variety to the day’s outfit. They can also start conversations -all the while keeping a distance! – when they’re as cheerful as this one.
We have lots to choose from. Indigo Shibori masks by Ikeda Daigo in Kurume run out of the shop as soon as they arrive
Colorful masks by YAYA fit perfectly and come in a rainbow of design and color
how much its that mask in the window?
make your own with summery sashiko designs. Masks are seasonal – easy to breathe in summer, keep you warm in winter.
Play with tenugui designs. This really comfortable one was a gift from our devoted customer Cynthia Nanto who made it out of BLUE & WHITE tenugui. It always gets compliments!
Or use a store bought generic white mask and then jazz up your outfit with BLUE & WHITE WOW!
Hand painted gauze mask by SORA TO UMI is a perfect match for our Yoruba beaded Prince who greets visitors to the Katoh house.

If masks are essential – and clearly they are! – why not make a fashion statement with them? Many do in Tokyo where the historic mask wearing culture has certainly curtailed the number of COVID patients.

Tie one on ! – this makeshift mask made from an unusual yellow bandana this Asakusa Tempura Shop worker used as a furoshiki to carry his Bento in primary school, maybe 60 years ago? A man ahead of his time!
MASKU BIJIN! Masked Beauty. a woman whose beauty is enhanced by a mask.
Father of all trades at the market: not only minding two children, but he also made his own mask
The eyes have it! Sometimes the eyes say as much as the mouth

Today Mask Style is happening. In these terrifying times, why not have a little fun where it is available? Small canvases of color and design on the face can lighten the sombre mood and bring pleasure and laughter to those who pass by. (though sadly we can no longer see each other smiling!)

And for the ultimate in amusement, a look at the offerings in Harajuku can bring out the animal, monster or cartoon character in all of us, though there is


The Ultimate in Mask amusementI on Takishita Dori in Harajuku

But the end truth is that no matter what –


Author Amy Katoh is proprietor of Tokyo’s iconic Blue and White Shop. Blue and White is like a salon for established and budding artists, craftspeople and collectors, as well as for newcomers to Japan who are trying to find their way through one of the world’s largest and most exciting cities. It has created a much needed international forum for a generation of creative people to share their work.

Read more blog postings by Amy Katoh on her site :   http://blueandwhitetokyo.com


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