I don’t know what it is, the mix of colour, textures, designs, all of the above, not to mention there total freedom of style, and their uninhibited way of being able to put on whatever they want, without giving a damn as to what the rest of the world thinks. The girls, and the guys, who deck themselves out in this way, have created a fashion movement of their very own, which puts to shame the street style of so many other nationalities.
There are seven main styles in Japanese street fashion, and they can all be seen walking up and down the streets of Tokyo and beyond. Just to give you a brief rundown of these styles and influences, they are:
Gothic Lolita: Lacey, Victoriana, gothic and dark, these girls where petticoats, stockings, ruffles and parasols. A bit creepy, but gorgeous none the less. There is also, Sweet Lolita – childlike, kitsch, Hello Kitty and colours everywhere, Punk Lolita – exactly as it sounds and Classic Lolita – feminine, cute and ever so slightly more grown up.
Ganguro: think brightly coloured outfits, mini skirts, platform shoes, bleached hair and lots of make up (think Kensington Roof Gardens on a Saturday night for make up visuals!)
Kogal: a style that a lot of people will be familiar with, schoolgirl! So think baggy school uniform with a short skirt and knee-high socks.
Visual Kei: crazy make up and even crazier hairstyles – the guys nail this look even better than the girls!
Dolly Kei: a new love of fairy tales and the middle ages has created this style, which is all about vintage clothing styled in unusual ways.
Cosplay: short for costume role play, elaborate costumes and accessories, fashionistas of this style will dress up to resemble characters from films, manga, anime or computer games.
If you can find yourself a copy, check out Fruits, a Japanese fashion magazine covering the fashions of the Harajuku district of Tokyo, established in 1997 by photographer Shoichi Aoki. Excerpts from the magazine were compiled to create the Phaidon Press books Fruits and Fresh Fruits. I’ve got a copy of these (in case anyone wants to borrow!) Otherwise they’re available at decent bookstores. If I’m ever having a fashion funk, I just flick through these books and the inspiration comes a flowing!
I’ve put some pics below to give you a better idea of the styles of Japanese Street Fashion…enjoy…and don’t be scared!
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