12 May 2016

Tokyo Fashion

     Hi Everyone!

     Since last week's Callie's Picks also took the subject, I have more reasons to write this post. Today is not about manga, anime or samurais. When you say, you have a severe interest in Japanese culture, you're labeled as "geek", "otaku" or "weeaboo". Also some consider us we don't like our own country. There are people falling in to all these definitions, but Japanese culture is too large of a pot to put us all in it.

     Personally speaking, I love the colors, creativity and technology. My first encounter with Tokyo Fashion was during September '97, which was also the day of funeral of Lady Diana. We're talking about 19 years! I was 7 years old then. We were in a huge mall in İstanbul, the biggest of Turkey at that time.

     My parents were looking shoes for me, then on the posters of the shoe store, I saw these girls wearing flashy colourful hairs, platforms, makeups and a lot of accessories. I was mesmerized, shot in the heart. I found their traces and wanted to follow in any way. It was the 90s with atari games, tomogotchis, bubblegum dance music and weird cartoons. I think everything about that time had neon background, loud bass music, pixel text fonts, and freedom of expression.

     So I will give a bit of glimpse on this fashion:

      Lolita Fashion

     "Kawaii" fashion is the most common known. As you can see we have Evil Panda and Sunny Bunny brands on Stardoll to dressed up like them. Most common items would be frills, lots of make up, lots of hair extensions, platform shoes. This sort of dressup is called Lolita fashion, which is also diverse in its own.

Black & White couples are often seen in the Harajuku Streets as Kuro-Shiro lolitas. In Japanese Kuro means black and Shiro means white

     Gyaru Culture

     There are also gyarus It is derived from "Girl" in English. it's transcribed into japanese with katakana as ギャル. It's a men crazy women fashion movement. This might sound wrong, but this says a lot for its starting point, but it's not the end point. It still feels self satisfaction. I'm not sure men are favoring especially this look. If you are bored enough and picked a random some 52 chapter Shoujo (Young girl) mangas you will likely to come across graphic version of these. Although what you will see is, deep eye makeup, tanned skins, and bleached hair; it's a diverse movement! Hime(princess) gyaru, Ganguro of 90s and banba are subcategories. I think this style needs a lot of courage to put on and go out on street.


     Mori Kei

    One of the interesting styles are Mori Kei. It's translated to forest style. I didn't know much about this until I started this post. This style consists of girls who like to collect, garden, read, paint, makw flower crowns. You can find them in cozy coffee shops, bookstores, vintage and oddities shops. Autumns and winter is their season. They have a founder called Choco, who has written a Mori Kei bible.


     Bousouzoku Culture

     Bousouzoku is a youth culture which has its own fashion. It means, running-out-of-control tribe. These are motorcycle gangs, although most of their vehicles are Scooter Motors. They customize their bikes and race. They are often aggressive delinquents who start fights with wooden swords. It started in 50s, now they're at very low numbers. They are generally under age of 20, below legal age in Japan. Girls and Boys have separate gangs. While their male leaders are called Banchou and female leaders are called Sukeban.



      Visual Kei

     My favorite among these is Visual Kei. This is a music genre that has very flashy and colourful looks. People often think, why a music should focus on visual so much? However there a lot of bands that are both skilled at music and visuals. It started at late 80s with X Japan. D'erlanger, and Color. Most of the significant bands are started in 90s. My favorite band Dir En Grey started in this era. At 2000s there have been subcategories. In mid 2000s there have been a lot of fans outside japan. At these times, some of the most influencial bands fell out of Visual Kei to nu metal, melodic metal core.
    However at this point rather than music their image became interest. I came across a lot of girls who were saying, they like the band for their looks although they only listened one or two of their songs. These days a lot of good quality bands are disbanding. I believe the reason is, people get easily bored of looks. Even if they were making better music, they can't peak the interest of community anymore. But if you are interested some of the bands are; Dir En Grey, Gazette, Nightmare, Luna Sea, Malice Mizer, Versailles PQ, Screw, Alice Nine, An Café, Moi dix Mois.

For anyone wondering, most of the bands are all-male. You won't even notice if entire band is femae. There is no gender or sexuality in this genre. Some could be vulgar despite their frilly looks. In the end, it's all about expression.

     This turned into a very long post. There are a lot more subcultures and fashion styles in Japan. It was fun to write, and take time to collect some images and ideas. I don't think there is a right or wrong way of following a fashion. Let's not bash each other who knows the best and hope it gives us a courage to express ourselves freely. "Appearance says a lot about a person". This is a quote from a very interesting movie called "Kamikaze Girls". I recommend you to watch it, character portrayals are really good.  Hope you enjoyed my post.

      If you were to express yourself in Tokyo fashion, how would it be? 

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