It’s the Nihongo way!

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fashion is a tyrant from where there is no deliverance; all must conform to its whimsy

The above is a French proverb that very aptly grasps the gist of Fashion in the contemporary world.

Fashion has become one of the driving forces in the present scenario and it continues to take forms as tastes, choices, and situations change.  Every country displays a different fashionable trend and each one of them are distinctly characterized.


Well, this is so Japanese.

The moment you hear Japan, what are your first thoughts? Well, the most common answers concern anime, manga, Tokyo or may be Sushi. We have actually narrowed our sight and ignored some really interesting aspects of Japan that often go unnoticed.

Like anime, manga, or Sushi, Fashion is an intriguing, wonderful aspect that needs special mention whenever we discuss anything related to clothing fashion.

Japanese people may be shy, introvert and reserved people but they are bold enough to accept fashion trends and relevant changes comfortably and most importantly, smartly!

Influx of Western trends has become common and its effect is evident when you notice the Japanese fashion that is sashayed in the streets, fashionably.  Japanese streets are as fashionable as that of the Big Apple, New York.

Let us have some look into the Japanese fashion, arigato,

1. Gyaru

Originally a Japanese term, the clothing style is heavily inspired by the eastern culture. Though it garnered popularity in 1970s when it was introduced, it lost its luster and created controversies.  Many Japanese targeted Gyaru as a sexually provocative clothing style. People did not entertain the idea of wigs, fake lashes, fake nails etc. Contrary to stereotypes, not all gyarus dress in a sexually provocative manner. The Gyaru look is varied and is not limited to blonde hair and tanned skin.

Girls in Gyaru outfits getting photographed.

Girls in Gyaru outfits getting photographed.

2. Kogul

If you have watched Japanese anime or movies, you would have already noticed that High school students do have a fashion trend to follow. The Kogal or Kogyaru look is based on the High School Uniform.  It includes shorter skirts, loose socks, a scarf and dyed hair.  Among many other High School fashion, Kogal was once the most popular one but has now declined. However, Japanese streets still offer Kogal as an acceptable street fashion.

A typical Kogul High school dress.

A typical Kogul High school dress.

3. Dolly Kei

Kawaii, yet again! What will Japan do without its Kawaii factor? Anyways, Dolly Kei is another “cute” version of emerging street fashion that is based on Middle Ages and fairytales. In simple words, it is all about Vintage.

Vintage is the new cool.

Vintage is the new cool.

4. Mori Girl

Mori is originally a Japanese term, which means forest. It is another popular fashion, especially among teenagers. It is clear by the name itself that this fashion is specifically for girls. It uses soft, loosely fitting layers of garments such as floaty dresses and cardigans.  Mostly based on natural themes, it uses natural fabric. The colors are light. In terms of hairstyles, bangs (often curled) and braids are very popular.

The main purpose of this style is to create a doll-like appearance and if we put it in Japanese way, to go Kawaii all over.

Loose, mild colored clothes are typical Mori.

Loose, mild colored clothes are typical Mori

5. Oshare Kei

Everybody knows bright colors reflect happiness and cheerfulness. So does this Japanese Street fashion that has become a symbol of enthusiasm and cheerfulness for Japanese. The style is characterized by bright patterns and colors and punk elements. While most Japanese use make up on other mentioned styles, makeup is mild for this slight. Perhaps, you become too bright to become brighter.

This style is particularly popular among musicians for example, An Café, Panic Channel, Lolita 23q etc.

If you are happy, let the Japanese people know. Be an Oshare Kei!

Happy-go-lucky look. Kawaii!

Happy-go-lucky look. Kawaii!

6. Visual Kei

Here comes that street fashion which is unusual enough. It is a style created in 1980s by musicians. It has extremely bright and striking features. Striking makeup, unusual hairstyle, and bright outfits characterize it.  Basically, it revolves around the concept of heavy metal. In Visual Kei, appearance is more or less akin to that of spike-haired or Mohawk styled rock musicians that are popular in the West.

Are you a hardcore Metal freak? Well, Visual Kei is what you must look for.

It is the hardcore Visual Kei look.

It is the hardcore Visual Kei look.

7. Bosozoku

The last clothing style that we have for you is this one. Though not popular, it is still remembered and seldom observed in Japan. The typical bōsōzoku member is often depicted in a uniform consisting of a jumpsuit like those worn by manual laborers or a tokko-fuku. These are usually worn open, with no shirt underneath, showing off bandaged torsos and matching baggy pants tucked inside tall boots.

On the verge of decline, this style is seldom put to use.

On the verge of decline, this style is seldom put to use.

8. Lolita

Kawaii is a driving factor in Japan. So, there can be many possibilities that you a kawaii one in Japan if you have donned a Lolita outfit. There are many different ranges in Lolita from Gothic to Kodono (a.k.a boystyle) and each one of them are heavily influenced by Eastern and Victorian clothing styles.

A typical lolita

A typical lolita

Isn’t it amazing to find such a distinct, wide range of fashion trends that has heavily influenced people? In fact, Japanese street fashion is much vibrant than any other street fashion found in other parts of the world.