The fashion scene in Japan is vibrant and unique. This makes for a dynamic blend of styles, especially in the fast-paced city of Tokyo.
Japanese fashion is continuously evolving as one trend morphs into or inspires another. Let’s take a look at a few of the styles currently brightening up the streets of Harajuku (one of Tokyo’s most fashionable districts). We’ll also examine some of Japan’s popular trends from the past few decades, which have helped to shape the country into one of the most distinctive fashion capitals in the world.
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The decora phenomenon revolves around “kawaii,” a word used to describe all things cute and loveable. Decora boys and girls often wear layers of bright, eccentric clothing and fuzzy shoes or hats. Their hair is usually colorful and full of barrettes.
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This style is inspired by the “greasers” of the 1950s and includes black leather, sunglasses, and denim. Vintage hairstyles like rolled bangs or pompadours often complete the look.
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The Lolita trend focuses on a girlish, doll-like appearance. Clothes are inspired by the Victorian style, and range from gothic to “sweet.” Many Lolita girls wear their hair in big curls and even carry lace parasols.
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Ganguro girls tend to color their hair blonde or orange and wear tan make-up with white-colored eyes and lips. This style was popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, but has recently been making a comeback.
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This cutesy trend is inspired by characters like the Care Bears, Hello Kitty, My Little Pony, and Strawberry Shortcake. Clothes and accessories often feature adorable animals such as bunnies, cats, and teddy bears.
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“Mori girl” loosely translates to “forest girl,” and followers of this style usually go for a fairytale look by dressing in ethereal fabrics and earthy tones.
Accessories to tie it all together
Japanese fashion is highlighted by bold accessories, including barrettes, colorful Band-Aids, bows, stickers, and even surgical masks. You’ll also see girls wearing platform boots and carrying bags shaped like tiny animals.
To stay up to date with the ever-changing world of Japanese fashion and see how the people of Tokyo incorporate these trends into their everyday style, check out the FRUiTS Instagram. (FRUiTS magazine has been a major force in documenting Harajuku street style since 1997.)
Want to check out Japanese fashion for yourself? Apply for one of our year, semester, or summer programs to Japan. With programs ranging from 2 weeks to a full academic year, you’ll have the chance to experience this unique culture by living with a host family and attending a local school.