Let's Talk About Milk

Below is an English translation of the fifth of 31 essays/short articles in Takemoto Novala's recently published 乙女のトリビア, or Trivia for Maidens, originally published in Zipper magazine.

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Let’s Talk About Milk.
Things About Milk That You Don’t Know About


Do you like Milk? I bet you do. Even if you’ve never worn it yourself, Milk’s clothing can make you dizzy just looking at it.

It’s extremely cute, but at the same time rock and roll, and very street even as it’s classy. It’s always cutting edge. So I’ve always loved Milk. My characters often wear Milk. After all, my debut novel Mishin was about a punk rocker who wore Milk. I don’t believe I would have ever made it as a novelist if Milk didn’t exist.


Missin' by Takemoto Novala


How much do you know about Milk? This time, let’s learn about Milk’s history.

From the beginning, Milk’s director has been Hitomi. The shop was started all the way back in the 70s. Milk’s been around longer than you have. Currently, the head shop is in Harajuku on Meiji-doori Street, but originally it was in a building called "Central Apartments" in Omotesando, in a tiny room that would be full to the brim if there were even 5 customers in it at one time. Milk’s clothing at that time had a similar design as now, and it was carefully constructed, so the price was quite high and most girls couldn’t afford it. The sizing was also a bit smaller than average.


Minami Saori


Because of this, the people who wore Milk the most tended to be famous idols and models. Most famous of those who loved Milk was Minami Saori. But then, have you even heard of her? She was at the top of the idol world in the 70s, with a sincere image. She wore Milk outside of work as well. As for someone who you’ve actually heard of who wore Milk, how about Candies? Ishino Mako as well. If I keep going on about idols who wore Milk, I’ll never be done!


Candies



Ishino Mako


Milk was therefore the brand that started the practice of providing a lot of clothing for stars in Japan, a practice that is considered obvious today.

In the late 70s, it became more possible for normal people to be able to buy brand. Matsuda Seiko loved Milk when she was in high school, and it seems she would save up to buy it. In the 80s there was the DC Boom, and it was no longer the privilege of famous talents and models alone to wear Milk, but even still, Milk was special. Milk was different. Different from other shops…

I have many friends who are designers, but for the most part, designers are quite mean-spirited, and won’t express admiration for any other brand, even if the target customer base is completely different. But everyone admires Milk. Milk is incredible. Usually, a brand will change its image and direction based on trends and the needs of their customers, but Milk has always kept the same policy, and continues to grab the hearts of new girls. When I went to Paris for the first time, I was wearing Milk. And all the stylists and models there asked me what brand it was from. They loved it, and became very interested in it. Milk has never been featured in a Paris Collection, but they still continue to make clothing that can be beloved around the world.

To digress a bit, the designer for Jane Marple used to work at Milk. The head of Shirley Temple, the foundation brand of Emily Temple cute, started Shirley Temple because of her involvement with Milk. It may be surprising, but there are even many people at Under Cover and Comme des Garçons who have connections with Milk. So in a way, Milk stands at the base of the Japanese fashion world.

So you see, Milk truly is special! Several years ago, I was introduced to Hitomi-san, and at that time, I apologized to her for wearing Milk rather than Milk Boy despite being a guy. She told me, "Gender and age are irrelevant. I want my clothes worn by those who understand their spirit." These words gave me confidence, and I ended up reserving a lot of new reservation items.

If there’s something with a heart motif, I can’t help but buy it... Oh dear, I was supposed to be writing about Milk’s history, and ended up just writing a love letter to Milk! You’ll forgive me, right? After all, I can’t help it. I really love Milk.

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I’ll finally be able to keep my own thoughts on this one brief, as I really don’t have a lot to say about Milk. They are adorable, but not my own style, which is lucky, considering they’re a bit too small for me! I absolutely love their accessories though. I mean, come on, how cute is this?



Yep, I thought so!

This time, instead of my own comments, I’ll leave you with this magazine feature on Minami Saori, who Novala writes about above. An English translation follows the original Japanese.





From PuchiPuchi magazine, September 1973.


I should probably also include an apology. Despite promising at least 1 new translation every week, I fell off the horse last week and it's been 2 weeks since my last translation! I will work on being better! Please don't lose faith in me! ♥

2 comments:

Caro-chan said...
March 22, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Great post! You know I'm currently interested in really old Japanese fashions XD I've linked this article to my recent Old School post.

Looking forward to the next translation, no matter how late it is!

Mary Hazelbelle said...
November 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

3 years on and it is still a great article :) Thank you for the translation as well! :D ^^

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