Japanese street fashion

Japanese street fashion

Japan began to emulate Western fashion during the middle of the 19th century. By the beginning of the 21st century it had altered into what is known today as 'Street Fashion.' .

The term 'Street Fashion' is used to describe fashion where the wearer personally customizes the outfits by adopting a mixture of current and traditional trends. Such clothes are generally home-made with the use of material bought from the stores.

At present there are many styles of dresses in Japan, created from a mix of both local and foreign labels. Some of these styles are extreme and avant-garde, similar to the haute couture seen on European catwalks. The rise and fall of many of these trends has been chronicled by Shoichi Aoki since 1997 in the fashion magazine FRUiTS, which is a notable magazine for the promotion of street fashion in Japan.

More recently, Japanese hip-hop, which always been present among underground Tokyo's club scene has sky-rocketed in the mainstream fashion industry [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3324409.stm BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Japan grows its own hip-hop ] ] . The popularity of the music is so influential that Tokyo's youth are imitating their favorite hip hop stars from the way they dress with over-sized clothes to darkening their skin with ultraviolet rays, usually done by tanning. For many, the Japanese youth believe that, tanning or being darker is afreedom of expression they are unable to experience in their circumscribed social role as 'Japanese'. Therefore, the idea of darkening your skin to resemble more an American hip-hop star or ethnic group may seem like a fad but this subculture, the black facers, do not particularly set themselves apart from many other sub cultures that have emerged as a result of hip hop. Tokyo is highly diverse city with a large portion Africans and American military bases. [ Condry, Ian. Hip-hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.]

Modern Japanese fashion

Supposedly, street fashion has become the most popular trend in Japan today. Great deals of young Japanese wear the outlandish clothes in large urban fashion districts such as Harajuku, Ginza, Odaiba, Shinjuku and Shibuya.


The Lolita styles have many different "subcultures", such as: Punk Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Sweet Lolita, etc. They are always expressed as "GothLoli", "SweetLoli", "PunkLoli".

* Gothic Lolita styles focus more on Edwardian pieces and darker colors. Big brooches, bonnets, and umbrellas are popular accessories. A popular style now is "Alice in Wonderland", with skirts, tops, accessories, bags all with playing cards on them.

* Punk Lolita styles have a lot of plaid in the clothing. Chains, pearls, big bows patterned with plaid, lace, and lots of wristbands are popular accessories. The biggest model of PunkLoli fashions is Nana Kitade, a very popular singer/songwriter.

* Sweet Lolita styles are inspired by baby doll clothing. A lot of pinks and whites and blues are used. Bows, lace collars, and stuffed animals are common accessories. Aprons are worn over dresses as to give the appearance as if someone had been baking. Hello Kitty is very popular with SweetLolis.


The Kogal subculture is characterized by young women, who display their disposable incomes through tastes in fashion, music and other forms of social activity. Most Ko-gals are in their last years of high school, or the beginning years of college. Kogals are very flashy-type women and the style is very similar to that of Ganguro.


The Ganguro subculture peaked popularity in the year 2000. The looks of Ganguro fashion consists of bleached hair, a deep or extremely pale tan, fake eyelashes, platform shoes and brightly coloured make-up and outfits. They wear mini-skirts, platform boots and ample amounts of bracelets, rings and necklaces. The Ganguro girls are usually accompanied by a small group and it is typical of a "Ganguro Gal" to show-off her cell phone covered with purikura, pictures from photo booths. [ [http://www.morbidoutlook.com/fashion/articles/2000_11_japanese.html Morbid Outlook - The Japanese Fashion Experience ] ] .


The stereotypical bōsōzoku look is often portrayed, and even caricatured, in many forms of Japanese media such as anime, manga and films. The typical bōsōzoku member is often depicted in a uniform consisting of a jumpsuit like those worn by manual laborers or a tokko-fuku (特攻服), a type of military issued over-coat with kanji slogans usually worn open with no shirt underneath showing off their bandaged torsos and matching baggy pants tucked inside tall boots. Leather jackets, often embroidered with club/gang logos, and even full leather suits, are also seen as common elements of the bōsōzoku look. Items in the bōsōzoku attire consist of sunglasses, usually round or wrap-around, long hachimaki headbands, also with battle slogans, and a pompadour hairstyle, most likely akin to the greaser/rocker look, or perhaps because of the hairstyle's association with yakuza thugs. The punch perm is considered a common bōsōzoku hairstyle as well.

Elegant Gothic Aristocrat

The style of Elegant Gothic Aristocrat is based on the concept of androgyny and often has identical outfits for both men and women. The typical colors of the clothes are black, white and other dark colors, but sometimes may include light blue or light pink with black detailing. The main image is founded on elegance and simplicity where the clothing lines are usually simple and tight, with pants or long skirts that stand in contrast to the Lolita style. Dark, heavy makeup may be worn by both sexes.

ee also

* Youth culture
* FRUiTS Magazine


* http://www.morbidoutlook.com/fashion/articles/2000_11_japanese.html
* http://www.onatoko.com/whyLoveJpop.asp
* http://www.style-arena.jp/index_e.htm
* http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/05/prweb961824.htm

External links

* [http://www.harajukustyle.net www.harajukustyle.net] Tokyo Street Fashion, Information and Photos.
* [http://www.japanlinked.com/about_japan/culture/fashion/galstyles.html Detailed description of Gyaru GAL Styles (ganguro, yamanba...) in Japan + Photos]
* [http://www.illstyling.com Ill Styling The Japanese Urban Culture And Style Magazine]
* [http://www.carmenyuen.com/blog La Carmina: comprehensive blog on Gothic Lolita and Japanese street style]

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