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What Is Tokyo Street Fashion?
Tokyo Street Fashion has a long history, stemming from the youth protest against the Vietnam War in the 60s. How the protesters dressed became a representation of the historical uprising, taking the term ‘fashion statement’ to a whole new level. Nowadays, fashion in Japan highlights the importance of self-expression in a country with very restricting traditions.
In the early 2000s, international brands started taking interest in setting up shops around Tokyo to become a part of this fashion-forward movement. Today, Tokyo is regarded as a melting pot of culture, style, and trends in the world of fashion.
What’s With Gwen Stefani And Japanese Fashion?
Before Gwen Stefani’s successful music career as a solo artist, she performed in Japan for the first time in 1996 with her band No Doubt. Here, Gwen developed a great appreciation for the country’s fashion scene and culture. In an interview with US Weekly, she shared why she loved Japan’s style: “it was the self-expression and the need to be different and unique and stick out and be outrageous.”
In 2003, the singer-songwriter started her Japanese-inspired fashion line: Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (abbreviated as L.A.M.B.), selling bags, shoes, and watches. In the same year, she launched her solo album, also titled L.A.M.B., and recruited four Harajuku girls as her posse and backup dancers.
Harajuku District is the go-to place for all things unique and trendy, catering to fashionistas, toy collectors, techno-geeks, and even anime otakus. Since the 80s, it’s been the popular shopping hub among youngsters looking for the craziest outfits and rarest vintage finds. Some of the most highly acclaimed stores to visit in the district are BodyLine, Kiddy Land, W♥C, and Shibuya MODI.
Famous for introducing kawaii fashion, Takeshita street is home to Harajuku girls and boys. The Harajuku style originated on this street and is best described as outrageously colourful, playful, and over-the-top.
Located in Shibuya City, teenagers flock to the area in search of costumes, everyday wear, and skincare products at affordable prices. Cafés, thrift shops, boutiques, and food stands – Takeshita street’s got it all! Despite how busy it can get, it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list of must-see places in Japan!
The 10 Most Popular Japanese Street Fashion Trends
Japanese street fashion invites people to mix and match: the new and the vintage, bright and dark colours, and secondhand finds and luxury pieces. It’s not so much about what you wear, but how you wear it.
The Classic Hip Belt Bag
Whether you refer to this bag as a hip belt bag, fanny pack, bum bag, or banana bag, there’s no denying it’s hella convenient to use. Practical, chic, and hands-free, the hip belt bag has made an explosive comeback! Despite being criticised as unfashionable, mogul brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Gucci think otherwise. They’ve all started selling and marketing hip belt bags as incredible high-end fashion pieces.
Bold & Bright
There’s no such thing as clashing colours in Tokyo street fashion. Dare to stand out from the crowd by strutting in all seven of your favourite colours! Japanese photographer Shoichi Aoki is known for featuring crazy colourful outfits in his magazine Fruits. He’s taken thousands of photos on the streets of Japan, mainly in Harajuku district, to capture individuals’ unique and bold styles.
Obsessed With Oversized
Skip tailoring that suit and opt for a larger size instead! Oversized clothing is trendy in Japan for its dramatic and heavy silhouette. Whether you’re wearing a hoodie, dress, suit, or pants, the general rule of thumb is bigger is always better. In Shibuya City, Pulp 417 Édifice is one of the go-to brands for all things oversized.
Proud In Plaid
What goes with your plaid jumpsuit? Your plaid coat, of course. This pattern is often associated with 90s grunge and school uniform skirts, but Japan has changed that – you can never wear too much plaid in Tokyo!
Forget about matching your shoes to your belt, the answer is always sneakers! Since the 90s, Western brands like Nike, New Balance, Converse, and Adidas have become widely popular in Japanese street fashion. The fad has stayed strong over the years, now with local brands like Flower Mountain, BAPE, and Asics creating their own sneakers.
Live, Love, Layers
Layering is a great way to add dimension and depth to any outfit. It encourages people to mix patterns and textures for a more playful yet sophisticated look. Japan is a country that experiences some pretty cold winters, making it important to layer up to stay warm. Thankfully, this trend allows them to do just that, without sacrificing style.
Dare To Wear Denim
Denim is a timeless fabric that can look both casual and edgy, depending on how you style it. From trousers to dresses, denim anything is trendy as heck in Japan right now! Fun fact: 90% of jeans’ zippers are manufactured by the Japanese company Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha in Tokyo.
More Mori Kei
Loose fabrics, knitted cardigans, and soft colours – Mori Kei is perfect for the free-spirited nature lover! It takes on the colour scheme of fall with its neutral browns, whites, and creams for a very earthy look. The creator of Mori, Choco, authored a book that serves as a guide for those interested in adopting this whimsical style.
Modern And Monochromatic
There’s something very sleek about wearing a solid colour from head to toe. This all-white ensemble is a great example of an outfit that looks sharp, contemporary, and incredibly eye-catching. You can also experiment with different textures of the same hue for added detail to your look.
Genderless Kei is rejecting the idea that you need to dress according to your gender. This subculture is the epitome of what it means to promote free self-expression and encourage fearless experimentation in the world of fashion!
Try Them Out
There you have it – 10 Japanese street fashion trends that break all the rules in the fashion book. Try them out and express yourself with your next outfit!
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