Most people enjoy walking down memory lane. For me personally, it gives me comfort that the things I was worrying about in the past all turned out well in the present. Other than memories, do you know what other aspect is nice to look back to? Fashion.
Flipping through pictures of your grandparents or your parents, you’d see how fashion has evolved since. You’d see the trendy patterns in their time, the best shoes to wear, the hot piece of clothing a girl should have, and surprise but not a surprise, outfit trends that made its way into the present. High-waisted jeans? That is so 1970s!
But it’s all fun, looking back to the fashion trends that once dominated the world. And when we talk about fashion trends to look back on, it is a must to talk about the famous 90s Japanese fashion that took the world by storm.
90s Japanese Fashion: All About Harajuku
When it comes to an eccentric sense of fashion, nothing has yet to beat the years of the 1990s in the streets of Harajuku. For me, I was awakened to this sense of fashion when I was in elementary school and was obsessed with anime and when you’re infatuated with anime, automatically, you’ll find yourself researching Japan as well. That was the mid-2000s and Harajuku fashion was fluctuating. There were trends that slowly died down but there are also trends that are just beginning to rise.
I remember being shocked first then fascinated later on because of the bizarre fashion sense that I haven’t seen before. That was my first encounter with Harajuku fashion and back then and until now, I am still baffled about the style.
To give a little history, Harajuku is a famous neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan that is littered with teenagers. It’s like a social street for unwinding and after-school dine and walks with friends. It has one famous street names Takeshita, which is the epicenter of all of these establishments. Walking around and you’ll see boutiques with various clothing styles and food outlets that make you forget that diet even exists.
Within this street, a trend among teenagers started. And one day after another, Harajuku is filled to the brim with teenagers with never-seen-before fashion styles. Since then, it has been called Harajuku fashion and ultimately, the said fashion has reached international ears and was deeply welcomed by foreigners.
These fashion trends, however, weren’t just for the cameras and these teenagers weren’t doing it for photo ops or attention. Harajuku fashion is actually a cry and their yearn for freedom amidst the conservative and traditional culture of Japan. As a rebellion, they’ve expressed themselves through fashion.
Since these teenagers were calling for freedom, they’ve explored the realm of individualism and the art of doing and wearing what they truly want.
As you’ve known, Japan has quite a culture, and being conservative is one of them. Parents have disciplined their children in a way that is acceptable and livable by society. As teenagers who felt shackled by these, they started questioning themselves, what is it do they really want? And so, bizarre fashion ensued.
There are numerous Harajuku fashion styles and almost all of them has tread through international waters and has garnered foreign fans from all around the world. But there are a few that are more notable than the others.
The first is cosplay. Cosplay is insanely popular because of the fame of anime and video games which are not limited to Japanese fans only but is also highly-regarded worldwide. As a tribute, there are numerous cosplay conventions held at different parts of the world, organized by cosplay-enthusiasts. These conventions are attended by cosplayers and their outfits or normal bystanders who are fans of anime and video games and is just looking for good old fun.
The second is lolita. No matter how enamored I was about Harajuku fashion, I personally haven’t tried any of them, even cosplay. But I do take inspiration from them and their outfits and Lolita is one of those. Now, internationally and for those who are not familiar with Harajuku fashion, the term lolita is badly connotated because of a book released in 1955, containing sensitive and triggering themes. But those who are informed about Japan’s lolita would know that this is a one-of-a-kind fashion style with outfits resembling the clothes from the Victorian era, meaning they are frilly, lacey, and princess-like. If you want to read more about lolita, click this link for all of our blog posts concerning Lolita. You’d be surprised with what you’ll know.
The third is gyaru and I must say, this one of those controversial fashion trends that walked the streets of Harajuku. You’d know gyaru girls from miles away because of how much they stand out from the crowd. Sticking true to Harajuku fashion as a call for freedom, gyaru is also a trend that goes against. As preferred in Japan, they like women with pale fair skin, natural hair and minimal makeup. Gyaru, as their rebellion against Japan’s beauty standards, did just the opposite. They tan their skin, they bleach their hair, stripping them off of their natural color and wear bright and sometimes provocative outfits. They were frowned upon at first but eventually, accepted by society. We’ve written quite a few articles for anything related to gyaru, so if you want to learn more, I suggest you go ahead and click this link.
The fourth is visual kei. Visual kei actually didn’t start on the streets. They started with Japanese rock musicians and their fashion style on stage. When fans of these musicians started mimicking their fashion sense, that was when visual kei came down onto the streets. This was quite a popular fashion sense because they originated with already famous rock starts and their band. They would usually be seen attending concerts or music shows of these rock musicians, donning on visual kei-inspired outfits. We’ve written other visual kei related articles and if you are interested in this fashion style, then click this link.
What do you think about the fashion trends that grace the country of Japan in the 90s? And if you were there at that time, what fashion subculture would you have joined? Let us know!