The devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunamis which hit the Northeast of Japan on Friday afternoon has had a huge effect on Japanese society, infrastructure and the domestic economy. As share prices tumbled and widespread panic took hold, shops, boutiques and department stores shuttered their doors over most of the weekend.

Some bloggers wrote that central Tokyo was a Ghost Town on Saturday and Sunday as people stayed at home in fear of another earthquake or strong aftershocks. Public transportation was also affected with most train lines closing or running with a heavily disrupted service. Some stores which did open decided to conserve energy and functioned with no interior lights or exterior neon signs, etc.

As Northeast Japan and the Greater Tokyo area face a situation of rolling power blackouts, imposed by the government, over the coming weeks and months most retailers will be directly affected. Imports and exports are said to be restricted due to the closing of airports and ports, and generally it can be said that the economic situation of Japan looks grim.

To add to the misery, Japan Fashion Week and the off-schedule shows which come under the unofficial banner of Tokyo Collections, have been cancelled, leaving brands and independent designers at a temporary loss. Some labels have expressed that their collections are merely postponed, but others have cancelled their shows outright. Some PR agencies representing the brands have been in contact to say that in all likelihood many brands will hold small presentations or installations in atelier spaces in the coming weeks or months depending on the overall situation.

To support victims of the earthquake, please donate to the Red Cross or as influential Tokyo-based editor Misha Janette recently wrote “perhaps even consider purchasing that awesome Japanese-brand fashion item you've had your eye on?” 

Lady Gaga "We pray for Japan" wristband
Lady Gaga "We pray for Japan" wristband
Many fashion brands design charity collections in order to support victims in Japan. Also many stars have already donated money, or like Lady Gaga, for example, created "We pray for Japan" wristbands that you can order online for $5 each with all proceeds going directly to Japan relief efforts.