Japan is a country of opposites, place renowned for polite manners, and yet slurping noodles, napping at work, and Hadaka Matsuri – the naked festival – are common occurrence. On the other hand, Japan is also known for its weird trends: Ganguro (blackface) trend where girls tan to extreme and Yaeba trend of having crooked teeth. Nevertheless, this is a country with rich history and its traditions, customs, and especially fashion are an inspiration to people worldwide.
Being around for more than a hundred years, school uniforms have become another symbol of Japanese culture. There are different types of uniform: sailor, with a navy scarf over a white blouse, blazer and bolero uniform, and uniforms with different kinds of skirts: jumper skirt, overall, and suspender skirt. Now, girls like them short, but schools don’t allow it, so they wait to get out of school grounds and then simply fold it several times. Also, as their uniforms are plain, they use any opportunity to add colour: sweaters, scarves, sneakers, key rings on schoolbags, etc… The more the merrier!
Connecting the odds
What Western girls would never even think of wearing, Japanese girls have turned into fashion statements: platform shoes combined with flower patterned skirt and polka dot shirt. Boldly combine different patterns and colours, and forget all about that Western rule that you should not wear more than two colours or patterns at the same time – Japanese girls rock the look! Bright lipsticks, neon eye shadows, differently coloured and decorated nails, and rainbow hair; Kawaii style allows it all.
Different shades of Lolita
Gothic Lolita, steampunk Lolita, sweet Lolita, Wa Lolita and many more styles have been born and explored in Japan where girls are crazy about Lolita look. Gothic is all about dark yet feminine look: plenty of silk, lace, leather, red-and-black lips, and elaborate jewelry. When playing with steampunk go all Victorian-meets-modern and think corsets, puffy (but short) skirts, and modern accessories. Sweet Lolita is all about girly-girl traits: pastel colours, ribbons, and glitters; while Wa Lolita blends traditional Japanese dress, kimonos, belts, and hairpieces with modern shoes and elaborate makeup.
When Gwen Stefani introduced this style to America, it only opened up people’s eyes and brought this incredible trend to their attention. Like Halloween every Sunday, Harajuku in Japan is a chance for girls to show off with their talents and creations by combining modern and traditional. Girls who are looking to copy this style should aim to dress in layers, customize their clothes, do their hair and makeup wild, and wear accessories which do not necessarily go with their overall outfits. Boys loved wearing oversized military jackets, leather jackets with combat boots, leggings, and shorts, and sharp wool suits with cute hats. You see, it’s not just for girls.
Pieces of Japan on runways
Famous designers don’t hide that they find inspiration in Japan’s rich culture and tradition, and we can see young Japanese designers making a breakthrough with their unique style. Kimonos, wide obi belts, and wide cut sleeves can be seen not only on runways, but in the streets as well. Japanese dresses and kimonos are made of light materials that feel great, and no wonder this summer girls everywhere chose to add silky or lace kimonos to their outfits.
Perhaps you cannot go to Japan and experience their culture first-hand, but you can do plenty to feel like you are a part of it nonetheless. Finding inspiration in their fashion and dressing as lovely Japanese girls do will make find your inner Kawaii.