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Fearing Crime, Japanese Wear the Hiding Place

camouflageOn a narrow Tokyo street, near a beef bowl restaurant and a pachinko parlor, Aya Tsukioka demonstrated new clothing designs that she hopes will ease Japan’s growing fears of crime.

Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By holding the sheet open and stepping to the side of the road, she showed how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine.

The wearer hides behind the sheet, printed with an actual-size photo of a vending machine. Ms. Tsukioka’s clothing is still in development, but she already has several versions, including one that unfolds from a kimono and a deluxe model with four sides for more complete camouflaging.

She also designed the “manhole bag,” a purse that can hide valuables by unfolding to look like a sewer cover. Lay it on the street with your wallet inside, and unwitting thieves are supposed to walk right by.

For children, she has a backpack that transforms into a Japanese-style fire hydrant, hiding the child.

Ms. Tsukioka said her disguises could be a bit impractical, “especially when your hands are shaking.” Still, she said she hoped the designs or some variation of them could be marketed widely. So far, she said, she has sold about 20 vending-machine skirts for about $800 each, printing and sewing each by hand.

More pictures including those of the fire hydrant and manhole bag camouflage after the jump.

Source: New York Times
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