Japanese Experimental Fashion (ファッション)
The traditional dress in Japan, the kimono (“garment to wear”) can be dated back to the 700s. It was used to denote status, with quality materials like silk reserved for the elite and cotton and hemp used for the masses. Japan was dominated for centuries by the kimono, but Japanese fashion underwent a radical shift with the introduction of Western style clothes (yofuku) in the 20th century. It’s a fashion I’ll term experimental fashion, especially popular with the young in Japan.
A few of the key styles of experimental fashion:
Rockabilly —> This exaggerated version of 1950s American fashion is particularly popular with 50- to 60-year-old men, who meet in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park on Sundays.
Dolly Kei —>Taking inspiration from European fairy tales, girls (and guys) dress themselves up in a style that is reminiscent of antique European dolls.
Fairy Kei —>This over-the-top feminine style is a multilayered confection of vivid pastel colors with a touch of the 1980s.
Lolita —> Victorian and Edwardian children’s clothes are the basis for this fashion, which is so popular it has spawned numerous subgroups, including goth and steampunk.
Gyaru/Ganguro —> Translating as “girl” or “gal,” this subculture is a celebration of all things feminine, involving high boots, loud clothes, thick makeup, heavily tanned skin, dyed blonde hair, and outrageous nails.
Harajuku Girls —> Part punk, part kawaii, this look evolved post World War II and has been popular ever since. “Harajuku Girls” is also used as a broad term for Tokyo youth that congregate in the Harajuku area.
Kogal —> This rebellious take on school uniform features shortened skirts and loose socks. It is commonly adopted by high school girls, who hang around Shibuya’s 109 building.
Mori —> This whimsical and stylish subculture is personified by the fashion label Earth, Music, Ecology. The look is elfin floaty chic, featuring long dresses and long hair, accompanied by longing, wistful looks.