Friday, October 26, 2007

The Japanese ninja skirt that turns into a Coca Cola machine to ward off attackers

by DAVID GARDNER - More by this author » Last updated at 08:47am on 23rd October 2007

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You've heard of hiding in plain sight.

Well, a fashion designer has come up with a more colourful way for worried women to blend into a busy street to elude a pursuer.

We've had mini-skirts, skorts, pencils and midis. Now there's the vending machine skirt.

It's definitely not the real thing, but Aya Tsukioka's skirt doubles as a disguise to make the wearer look like a Coca Cola machine.

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Coke dress

Aya Tsukioka's skirt aims to make the wearer look like a Coca Cola vending machine...

Ms Tsukioka, 29, unveiled her design in Tokyo by claiming she hopes it will help ease women's fear of crime.

She lifted a flap on the skirt to expose a large sheet of cloth printed with the familiar bright red Coca Cola logo.

By unfolding the sheet and stepping to the side of the street, she showed how a woman walking alone could hide behind it to outfox a potential attacker.

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Coke dress

Aya Tsukioka unveils her design in Tokyo. She hopes it will help ease women's fear of crime

Her deluxe model even boasts four sides for a more complete cover.

The experimental clothes designer has already sold 20 of the £400 hand-sewn vending machine skirts and it hoping to market the design worldwide.

She says the idea was inspired by a trick used by Japanese ninja assassins, who cloaked themselves in black blankets so they couldn't be seen at night.

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Coke dress

Tsukioka lifts a flap on the skirt to expose a large sheet of cloth printed with the familiar bright red Coca Cola logo

If the fizzy drink machine seems a little elaborate, not to mention impractical, she has also come up with the 'manhole bag' which is supposed to look like a sewer cover when you put it down so unwitting thieves walk right by without noticing it.

For children, she has a backpack that transforms into a fire hydrant.

While British women might prefer to take self-defence classes, Ms Tsukioka said: "It is just easier for Japanese to hide. Making a scene would be too embarrassing."

She admits that making the switch from skirt to vending machine might prove a little tricky "especially when your hands are shaking".

But she told the New York Times: "These ideas might strike foreigners as far-fetched, but in Japan, they can become reality."

Coke dress

Tsukioka says the idea was inspired by a trick used by Japanese ninja assassins, who cloaked themselves in black blankets so they couldn't be seen at night

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