Friday, March 5, 2010

Japanese Street Fashion

Don’t you like those cute Japanese models, that pretty hairstyle, those elegant dresses? Ever really wondered how it is like to be a fashionable modern man or woman in Japan? What they wear, how they wear it – what is the street fashion?

Japanese fashion is a blend of modern and traditional styles. In fact, fashion experts believe that Japan has evolved a street fashion with elements of traditional Japanese clothing trends along with our modern day fashion styles.

The Japanese street fashion trend began in the nineteenth century as Western fashion trends began influencing Japanese fashion. However, at that time the trend was not identified as street fashion. It was only in the 21st century that fashion in Japan was recognized as street fashion.

Fashion experts will tell you that street fashion is the style in which the user personalizes her outfit according to current and traditional trends. These costumes are mostly made at home with items bought from stores. In Japan now, Street fashion combines not only a blend of traditional and modern but also that of East and West.

Street fashion in Japan ranges from extreme Avant Garde to Japanese Gothic fashion. In fact, it is difficult to identify a particular trend in street fashion, as it is highly individualistic, with every person making their own different style statement.

One can trace the various trends in street fashion in the issues of a leading Japanese fashion magazine, FRUiTS. The magazine is popular as the leading guide of street fashion in Japan.

Most recently Japanese street fashion has been influenced by Japanese hip hop, which is a part of the underground club scene in Japan. Hip Hop has had a tremendous influence on Japanese fashion, with the youth emulating the oversized clothes and resorting to darkening their skin using ultra violet rays or tanning.

Even though the styles have transformed over the years, street fashion remains popular in Japan. Japanese youth can be seen donning subculture fashion in high fashion districts like Odaiba and Shibuya.

Some of the discernable styles of street fashion subculture in Japan are as follows:

Lolita: Yeah, it means, the teenage girl, and it brings the element of the ‘cute’ in fashion. Victorian Lolita has a heavy influence from Eastern and Victorian Goth Style. It includes popular Gothic motifs such as crosses, bats and spiders. Blouses or skirts are trimmed with lace and ruffled in Victorian style. Boots, brooches and parasols finish the look. Sweet Lolita brings child like attire with fairy tale themes. Inspired motifs include baby dolls and Hello Kitty. Large headbows, cute parasols and stuffed animals complete the look. Punk Lolita mixes Punk with Lolita style. Classic Lolita is inspired by tradition.

Ganguro: Popular in the 2000s, it consists of brightly colored outfits, miniskirts and tie dye Sarongs. In addition, bleached hair, dark tan, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and platform shoes highlight the style.

The Kogal look is that of a school uniform but with a shorter skirt, loose socks popular in the 1990’s but faded out. Bosozoku fashion includes military uniform popularized in Japanese media such as anime, manga and films. Visual Kei consists of striking make up, unusual hairstyle and even Androgynous outfits which draw inspiration from the entertainment field.

These are some of the Japanese street fashion concepts that are popular today. The Japanese are very fashion conscious, and most of them are aware of famous designer clothes and brands.

(Thanks again to Alison Freed for this content)