Do you remember this image from 2004? It was at the time Gwen Stefani introduced her new album that pretty much made the modern Japanese fashion go worldwide. From then on, the “Harajuku girls” persistently became the hot topic in magazines. But if you were (or perhaps still are) influenced by the concept, then, sadly, you will know that there is no such girl called a Harajuku girl. In fact, she is a myth among many fashion subcultures present in the Harajuku quarter of Tokyo, because Japanese styles are all about the expression of one’s self and there are no boundaries in the definition of your character.
Here are six Japanese fashion styles that will definitely blow your mind.
- Mori girl
Just kidding, let’s start with something close-to-reality. When you see a girl with comfortable loose dresses, having fun with layering, she could be depicted as a “Mori girl”.“Mori” in Japanese means “forest” and the girls adopting this style usually favor the colors that evoke earth, trees, pastel colors or even leaves and ornamental flowers as if they were just coming out from a magical forest.
Starting to become popular in 1990s, this is one of the largest fashion communities in Japan. There is even a global network of those who follow the style. The Lolitas mainly draw inspirations from Victorian and Edwardian era and have been divided into many sub-categories such as Sweet Lolita, Gothic Lolita (as seen in picture) or Punk Lolita… Today, the style has reached many countries outside Japan and is adapted in many Anime/Manga festivals all over the world.
Uniform! Yes, uniform can be fashion! Since most schools in Japan require them, the girls felt the need to style the uniforms for each school. In this way, the once-boring garment has been changed into a statement of self-expression.
If you go out on Sunday in Tokyo and your destination is Yoyogi park, you have very high chances to encounter people dressed like the 50s greasers, with motorcycles and Elvis Presley’s hair style. They are the Rockabillies! First appeared in America in the 1950s as a rock and roll music style, but it was not until the 80s that the style started to weave its way into Japanese culture. Today the Rockabillies still meet every Sunday to eat, drink, chat, and dance.
Although nowadays the style has merged with the other styles such as Fairy Kei or Pop Kei, Dekora is still characterized with strong, bright colors, kawaii and crazy accessories and a numerous amount of patterns, oh, and don’t forget the stuffed animal with you.
Too fed up with traditional beauty boundaries? Wanna make a strong contradictive declaration? Here comes the Ganguro. Although a real Ganguro on the street nowadays is very rare, the style could easily be spotted with dark tan skin, bleached hair, high contrast make-up and facial decorations.
Fashion, however crazy it might be, is a form of creative expression. With it people can not only show their characters but also make a recognition of themselves. In Japan, fashion is not just a statement, it is a lifestyle.
Written by Trang Nguyen