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JAPANESE FASHION – THE ULTIMATE STREET FASHION
Part I - Youth
One of the most interesting things about fashion in Japan is its street fashion.
Okay, dummy, street fashion is what individuals or groups of people wear, well, on the street. Lots of fashion designers say that they gain their inspiration from the street wear -- what ends up on a catwalk may just be based on something that an unknown seventeen-year old wore on his way to the mall.
Most of these looks can actually be ”bought” in some of the Goths stores – complete with accessories and shoes and wigs. Some Japanese kids are really creative when it comes to fashion, but if they have enough money they can just buy the style that they’re after. Here are some popular street fashion trends in Japan:
The Gothic French Maid look is immensely popular. This is usually means a short full black skirt with white lace trim combined with black blouse with puffed sleeves and more white lace trim. White socks or stockings with mary-janes. Some girls (and boys) who wear this type of outfit will combined with black, white lace-trimmed caps or other old-fashioned accessories. This look is sometimes referred to as ”Gothic Lolita”
The Nurse - There are lots of girls in Japan who are dressed in white Nurse’s uniforms although these are not as popular as ”Gothic Lolita”.
The Little girl. This sort of look is basically anything that makes a girl look like she’s about five-years old – pink skirts, bows, colorful socks… Accessories include dolls, teddy-bears and pacifiers.
Schoolgirl. This is plaid skirt and blazer with sailor-suit. The girls have no choice in the uniform if they get it from school. Buying a schoolgirl uniform when you are not a schoolgirl is really difficult and expensive.
Malice Mizer look-a-likes. Malice Mizer is the biggest Goth band in Japan that is currently topping the country’s music chart lists. Often the singers sometimes look like characters straight out of the Interview with the Vampire movie. They are beautiful boys often dressed up as beautiful girls. The kids love to copy the Victorian look of blonde ringlet curls (wings are sold in Goth stores in Tokyo) combined with blue or green 18th-19th century French-looking dresses with lots of white lace.
Uniforms (military or school uniforms) . These are sometimes combined with the Goth look. Military style seems to surface in Japan as one of the most recent trends. Sailors are popular. As are British schoolboys.
Hip Hop. Surprisingly hip hop style is making room for itself in Japan and is more and more visible (they have a few hippies too) Apparently you can see a number of kids wearing baggy athletic wear, FUBU, Tommy Hilfiger. They get their hair put in dreads, braids and even Afros. This is much more popular among boy than girls.
Gothic male look Interestingly lots of Japanese Goth females seem to be into the 18-19th century male look with beautiful, tailored jackets, pirate shirts and top hats.
Other Gothic Lolita – similar to ”Gothic Lolitas” but you’ll often find the clothes are actually made by the owner or an owner’s friend and therefore are subtly different looking than the store-bought stuff. These Gothic Lolitas are also different from the generated GLs because they seem to have more guts when it comes to applying make – they will often draw black tears, blood stains around their mouths. Sometimes they carry toys that are dressed and made-up to look just like them.
The individual dressers are much more interesting. One of the most interesting groups are Goth-Punks who cherish their individual style and invest in creativity to the point of obsession.
Usually they do give up on corsets or cinchers or bodices. You will probably not see any PVC bras or anything that reeks of cheap S&M bar amongst this group. But there are some interesting things that seem to be popular in this circle such as:
Big platform boots – very popular and it’s rare to actually see a Japanese Punk-Goth or a Goth without these. Girls love them and boys are into the superhero boots just as much.
Little black caps or thick headbands. – these look very Victorian and also are very similar to ”Gothic Lolita” caps, black with white lace trim.
Black arm bands worn on one arm -- these are popular among boys and usually come with the name of a Japanese Goth band on them. There are lots that have words ”Japan X” printed on them.
Make-up – make-up is huge in the street fashion. It could be a bright blue lipstick, very whiteface, heavy makeup with black tears or red hearts painted right on the faces. Silver stickers of stars glued onto cheeks, eye patches and gigantic fake eyelashes are common too.
Nightmare Before Christmas accessories such as pens, notebooks, little keychain-like-things that kids can attach to their miniature cellphones.
Religious paraphernalia are also used as accessories, for example Catholic crosses are worn both right side up and upside down.
According to the tourists, the biggest population are the Goths and they seem to be in their full gear usually on Sunday, usually near Yoyogi Park (Tokyo) where they mostly stand around, socialize and pose for photographs taken by tourists or other ”normal” looking middle-aged Japanese men. Different fashion groups seem to hang out in their own circles with little socializing in between the groups.
Part II - The Newest trend (youth)
Gunguro A newest fashion trend that seems to be infiltrating Japanese streets. Here it goes: A pale-skinned Japanese teenager with dyed blonde hair looking like some sort of a beach girl California circa 1970. Apparently, right now, this is the most popular fashiontrend amongst Japanese girls and there are literally thousands and thousands of them looking sort of like Barbie-gone-wrong. Though perhaps you want to be a Gunguro girl? Here’s what you need:
Most importantly though: If you want to be a true Gunguro girl you have to have Gunguro girlfriends. Gunguro girls travel in packs. Recently, Gunguro males have been spotted as well and these have to be accompanied by Gunguro girls.
Part III – General Street Trends (In no particular order. C’mon this is Japanese fashion we’re talking about. Order. Bah!)
In comparison with the U.S. Japanese kids are much better and careful dressers even if they’re in their casual mode. The clothes look and are much more expensive. It would be very difficult to find someone in stained shirt, shoeless, drunk, dressed in track pants with ass hanging out of pants (think Britney Spears). Japan’s young fashionistas are much more elegant and pleasant to look at.
Part IV – 20-somethings
Part V -- Where to Shop (in Tokyo)