Fashion In Japan

Japan has been an influential country when it comes to many things: food, art, technology, and animation. But one thing in particular that I love about Japan is the fashion. It’s been a part of my life ever since I saw Gwen Stefani and the Harajuku Girls, when I was about 4. The bright colors, mix of abstract and busy patterns, layered clothing, and doll-like appearnace appealed to my child eyes. Not much has changed in my perception of fashion, as I’m still passionate about it. Since then, I have delved even more into the outlandish style of Japanese streets.


One style is called decora. This style consists of bright colors, dyed hair, a plethora of small hair clips and accessories, many necklaces, tutus, pigtails, and anything cute and decorative. This style can be found in the streets of Harajuku, worn by tween and teen girls alike. A famous decora-wearing idol would be Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, a 23 year old Japanese pop star. Some noteworthy decora clothing lines would be: 6% DokiDoki, Superlovers, Galaxy, Bodyline, and Milklim. This style isn’t frequently worn by me, as it is a bit of a challenge to put the perfect decora outfit together, without looking too decorative. The key is to look like you come from Candyland; tastefully tacky, busy, and colorful.  


A more controversial style from Japan is called “visual kei.” This is a fashion that many rock bands in Japan portray. Started by Japanese hair metal band X Japan, the style has skyrocketed since the 1980s, becoming the main counter-culture of Japan. It consists of androgynous looks where men wear long. spiky colored hair, leather, boots, makeup, straight brows, piercings, ripped clothing, and feminine articles of clothing. Visual Kei is a broad term, considering these styles can be mixed with punk, goth, grunge, and decora elements. Some notable Visual Kei bands are: The Gazette, Versailles, X Japan, Dir En Grey, Malice Mizer, Luna Sea, Alice Nine, Mejibray, and many more. Some Visual Kei fashion labels are: H.Naoto, Punkrave, and others. This trend is my absolute favorite, as it has no boundaries to gender, hair, makeup, and even music style. When I was 12, my sister introduced me to what would become my all time favorite band, The Gazette. I marvelled at them upon seeing the fashion and hearing their music. I remember buying a leather jacket, receiving a Gazette band tee, wearing heavier makeup, bleaching my hair, teasing my hair, and wearing more combat boots. This was the dawn of a new era for me; the beginning to the real me. The Gazette remain my all time favorite band, and I am highly influenced by them musically.     


Lolita is, though a broad term, a very popular trend that has become an international success. The subcultures of lolita are gothic lolita, sweet lolita, and punk lolita. Lolita is comprised of frilly skirts, ruffled blouses, Victorian elements, bonnets, knee socks, pigtails, curly hair, Alice in Wonderland-themed clothing, platform heels, mary janes, petticoats, and brooches. Some remarkable lolita clothing labels are: Angelic Pretty, Alice and the Pirates, Moi Meme Moitie, and Victorian Maiden.
Japan has a variety of fashion that is, unfortunately, not seen by the rest of the world. Lolita is a wonderful trend, but the clothing is rather heavy and hard to find. I mostly just like to admire it rather than exhibiting it. 

The beauty of Japanese fashion is acceptance, individuality, and eccentricity. I don’t think I will let go of my fanaticism for Japanese fashion any time soon. I hope the world becomes more accepting of these fashions, and becomes as passionate about them as I am.