We might have thought that we will only see true fashion when it is walking down the runway or designed by an A-class fashion designer but what most of us doesn’t know is that fashion exists anywhere and what walks the runway, walks the streets.
Street fashion, in general and by definition, didn’t come to life from studios but instead, they originated from the stem of streetwear and are associated with the youth and their own culture. As you may have noticed, the current youth of the generation are not exactly your group of teenagers and young adults who dutifully follows the norms of the previous eras. Instead, they are out to discover and explore their own. To make it short, instead of abiding to fashion trends, the youth are most likely to dress up for individualism.
Harajuku Street Fashion
Speaking of individualism, I just think nothing could top early 2000’s Japanese street fashion. Now this time of the generation over at Japan has always been a different entity on its own. It is completely unique, uncanny, a whole new level and I’d even go as far to say that it is out of this world. It is so new to the eyes that we have a dedicated blog post on its own. If you are familiar with the Harajuku fashion style, then you would know what I am talking about, but if you are not, I suggest you read our blog post titled What is Harajuku Fashion Style: All You Need to Know.
Just to give an overview, Harajuku fashion style originated from Japan and it wasn’t made by some world-class famous fashion designers and their gorgeous designs but instead, by fashion-conscious young teenage girls and their strong will to break away from the norms and their wishes for freedom.
Strolling down the streets of Harajuku, especially the well-known Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street), you will see bizarre and never-seen before fashion styles. It has come to the point that the shops no longer has any influence on the fashion trends but instead, has become highly-dependent on what is trendy and new with the young teenagers, and what they wear are what sells.
Harajuku fashion has a few subcultures under its name. The lolita, gyaru, visual kei and the decora are some of the famous ones. And under these subcultures are another set of categories. This is what I mean by those who participate in the Harajuku fashion are really out there trying to discover who they are and what they really want to dress up in.
The lolilta subculture is all about these dream-like dresses inspired by the Victorian-era. They are bell-shaped skirts which are volumized with petticoats underneath and the blouses are either frilled and lace-trimmed. Under the lolita subculture, its well-known substyles are the gothic lolita, which are often characterized by darker colors and accesorized by skeletons, bats, and popular gothic icons, the sweet lolita which are more childlike than the others, the class lolita and punk lolita.
The gyaru subculture has an intriguing story behind the fashion style. You’ve probably seen this a few times in films or in dramas but hear this, a young high school girl, from an affluent family, rebelling. And that is the birth of the gyaru fashion. It was believe to have started when when high school girls who goes to private schools and are born in wealthy families, decided to go against their family traditions and beauty norms of an elegant lady. So they would dress and act to what their families would frown upon.
The visual kei movement started with Japanese rock musicians and was further spread by their fans from all around the world. It is characterized by androgynous punk-rock outfits and exaggerated hair.
So you see.. It is a bit uncanny, don’t you think so? But, I have high respects for this fashion, mainly for the reason why it was formed in the first place. They have found the most creative way to rebel and that is, unexpectedly, through fashion.
The Decline of Harajuku Fashion
But for a couple of years, there has been some articles spreading through the internet that the Harajuku fashion has been dwindling down and is dying and for a whole load of different reasons.
One, the well-known Harajuku fashion was no longer about individualism and has long strayed far from what it was originally. When it came to life, it was all about finding one’s self and going against the norm of traditional Japan. However, what was once a fashion that was filled with individuals who has the heart-filled urge to discover oneself was suddenly replaced with people who are now embracing Harajuku fashion just for the attention. The Harajuku trend became too cool and too famous that everyone just started doing it just to jump into the bandwagon.
Two, is the loss of that creative space. No longer were the unique boutiques that cater to the needs of the Harajuku fashion and was replaced by international fashion chains, some even blames Uniqlo, the Japanese ever-rising basic fashion chain.
Third, are the people themselves. As the years flew by, there were less and less people trying to discover themselves through fashion and was replaced by the new group of teenagers who are more conservative and obedient to the Japanese traditions.
In the current time, you’d probably find yourself walking down Harajuku station, trying to catch a glimpe of authentic Harajuku fashion, you probably need to walk and search more because in the recent years, there has been a large scarcity of people. You’d probably see a group or two but it will really make you question yourself, “Are they doing it for the lifestyle or is it for attention?”
2020 Japanese Street Fashion
The 2020 Japanese street fashion I must say has strayed a little bit far from the tree. Not too far though, in my opinion. If you look it up on Google, you’d still see those uncanny outfits that has a little bit of resemblance to the 1990’s Harajuku fashion, of course, with a modern and 2020 touch to it.
Here are a few fashion trends that has hit the streets of Japan in 2020.
This is one of those fashion trend that strayed quite a bit far from the authentic Harajuku fashion. We have been seeing duller colors the past few years. Even bolder colors are still in fashion, the monochrome outfits has balanced it all well by adding a bit of natural in the sea of uncanny.
Bold and Bright
Now this is something familiar. Even though the trend has long died down from other parts of the world, bolder and brighter colored-outfits are still thriving in the streets of Japan. I still see to it as a memoir from 2000’s Harajuku fashion.
It has been a few years when plaid suddenly strutting down the runway and suddenly giving birth to a whole new fashion revolving around them. I still see plaids as the classic of the classic patterns and I admit, they are very elegant once worn right.
What do you think of the Japanese street fashion? Do you find one you fancy? Let us know!