Behind the Scenes at the JFW

Cleaning the runway at ENTOPTIC

Some views of the Japan Fashion Week that you never get to see

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The Japan Fashion Week (JFW) is finished and I am back home and at my office. Time to rest a little after a very hectic 11 days in Tokyo.

During this JFW I occasionally pointed my camera in other directions, at the photographers for example, or the people preparing the shows. The image on top shows fashion house employees meticulously cleaning the runway speck by speck, so that it accurately reflects the light onto the clothes worn by the models. This was not just a 5 second affair, these guys cleaned the whole runway this way…

Have a look at what happens behind the scenes:


All the experienced photographers usually arrive about an hour and a half ahead of the show in order to get the best spots to shoot. Very often the halls are not even open then, so a lot of time is spend just waiting, and waiting, and waiting…



The waiting continues inside the hall, after most have set up their cameras. Because you don’t want to loose the spot you have just waited more than an hour to acquire, you usually just stand or sit on your spot, tightly packed until the show starts.



After a show finishes, all photographers rush to the next one, often on the other side of town. You don’t want to wait for the next elevator and loose time, so elevators are crammed to capacity. And sometimes beyond. Cans of sardines are more comfortable.


Because of the tight schedules and the enormous amount of editing that needs to be done, photographers get little to no sleep during the fashion week. This photographer had only had two hours of sleep the previous night. She tries to catch a few winks in between two shows that happened to be spaced liberally, an uncommon occurrence.


Behind the curtains, a clearly relieved model after the Theatre Products show. In the back one of the photographers is applauding the models.


Fashion Designers Akira Takeuchi (middle) and Tayuka Nakanishi of Theatre Products being interviewed after their show at the Mitsukoshi Theater in Tokyo. The person on the left is a reporter for the Mainichi Shimbun, one of the largest daily papers in Japan. Reporters usually crowd around the designers immediately after the show. They then often have just a few hours to churn out something in which they actually sound smart and well-informed.

Top Photo: Cleaning tiny specks from the runway at the ENTOPTIC show.

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

I love these behind the scenes photos. Compared to the runway photos, they tell so much more about a fashion show to me. Not that I don’t like the runway shots… ;D

Apr 1, 2010 (4691 days ago)

Thanks, gionbaby. I have one more behind the scenes look in the offing. Hopefully I can upload it over the few days. I think you’ll like it even more than these images!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 1, 2010 (4691 days ago)

Cool! (^_~)

Apr 1, 2010 (4691 days ago)

Insightful and humbling. I really appreciate the fashion week photographers, designers, models, and employees so much more now. Wow.

Apr 3, 2010 (4689 days ago)

@kagitsune: Thanks!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 3, 2010 (4688 days ago)

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