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Customizing with a Piece of Art:  New Fashion Trend Deco

In the New York area, Deco parts are available at Toho Shoji
(990 Avenue of the Americas, NYC /
They are offering a customized Deco art class by request.  Call for details at 212-868-7465.

It may sound like a cliché, but women in general like decorating with gems and colors.  In the era of mass production, customizing with unique designs and charms is part of self identity.  Deco, a Japanese shortened term for decoration, is a unique customization style that caught the attention of many fashion-conscious Japanese women, who look for their own style which can be found nowhere else.  This basic idea of customization married to vast varieties of decoration parts, materials and ideas, gave birth to the new fashion Deco in the modern Japanese culture.

While nail decoration was all the rage, fashion conscious women looked for decorations to match their cell phones with their hand.  Using the same materials for nail coloring, Deco is a much more superior decoration than stickers and paintings on cell phones and this decoration style quickly spread to whatever they carry in their purse on a daily basis: MP3 players, breath-mint cases, cosmetic bags, pocket mirrors, make-up compacts, address books and other small items with a personal attachment.  Once putting Deco on, everything becomes customized and expresses the owner’s personality and style.

The hook is the wide variety of Deco materials within different price ranges, and the flexibility of being easy to put on and take off.  Since Deco caught many Japanese women’s eyes, the Deco market has matured with even more kinds of materials and more professional art work.   Professionals, called Deco artists, run Deco salons and decorate whatever their customer brings in with astonishing techniques based on Japanese sensitivity and accuracy.  In tandem with the “princess boom” and “Gothic-Lolita boom” among young Japanese women, who cherished bows, roses and cakes in extra glittering materials, Deco evolved itself to a breathtaking art work on personal gadgets.

Since the items for Deco are usually something visible by others, Deco has the same status as jewelry.  Therefore, people don’t hesitate to spend some money for more professional Deco work with expensive materials in more elaborate designs and better techniques.  Materials can be as expensive as a few thousand dollars, but if that is in fashion, people will still order it.  Since there are so many techniques and combinations of materials, colors and designs, customization is unlimited.  The new trends, designs and styles come from the Deco style book, or sometimes from celebrities.

Customization has a strong association with fashion taste and personal preferences, and Deco is a great way to express one’s own identity and personality.  Making personal things one-of-a-kind gives a special satisfaction of self expression, and originality is the key to expressing individuality in the urban life with millions of people.  As long as new fashion and styles come out one after another, Deco will progress its artistic style and techniques.

——- Reported by Nori Akashi

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